From the Blog

How to win the fight with shame

This summer, our marketing team is reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. We’re working with COURAGEworks, Brené’s online reading community, to help transform the way we lead. Throughout the summer, hear from our team members directly in this blog series on what they’ve learned and how Brené’s research relates to them.

Daring Greatly: Chapters 3 and 4 continued

 

So far, we’ve learned that shame impacts everyone. Even so, many people don’t handle it in healthy ways.

In chapters 3 and 4, Brown acknowledges this problem. Her solution? “Shame resilience,” or learning to breathe through shame without letting it steal your joy.

I’m not immune to the joy thieves. They usually attack me disguised as perfection and concern for others. Often my goals are motivated by the desire to protect myself from judgment and what others think.

I was so excited to major in creative writing in college. I raved about my plans to friends and family — but I received mixed feedback. Some well-meaning people wondered how I would ever make money in the arts.

After struggling with these comments, I caved to the pressure. I decided to double major in communications, an industry that had more practical, career-oriented applications.

I don’t regret that choice: It helped me land many internships and jobs. But I plan to break that habit so I don’t base future decisions on fear of judgment or failure.

I’ll start by regularly practicing Dr. Brown’s steps for becoming shame resilient:

  1. Identify your physical responses to shame, and then get back on your emotional feet before you respond. Identify your physical reactions to shame to get back to a steadier state of mind. Physical shame symptoms could include sweaty palms, racing heart and hot face.
  2. Understand what triggered the shame. Investigate the messages that caused the shame — most of the time, they aren’t true.
  3. Tell your story to someone else. Brown says that shame can’t survive if you talk about it. Those shame triggers will instantly become less powerful when you verbalize them.

 

Give it a try: The next time you feel ashamed, breathe through the moment. Remind yourself that you’re not alone. Talk to a friend.

 

You’ll be one step closer to shame resilience.