Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston College of Social Work and she has spent the past 12 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame, which all can manifest themselves in a myriad of situations and life circumstances.
Shame is a universal human emotion; however, the messages and expectations that fuel shame are organized by gender. For women, shame is a web of unattainable expectations that say, “Do it all, do it perfectly, and never let them see you struggle.” For men, the primary shame mandate is, “Do not be perceived as weak.”
We all experience shame. We’re all afraid to talk about it. And, the less we talk about it, the more we have it. To combat shame we need shame resilience.
Men and women with high levels of shame resilience have four things in common – I call them the elements of shame resilience: (1) Recognizing Shame and Understanding Our Triggers, (2) Practicing Critical Awareness, (3) Reaching Out and, (4) Speaking Shame.
So when we talk shame around issues like poverty and race and gender, we can’t understand the complexity of those issues without first practicing critical awareness, reality-checking the messages and expectations driving shame, and acknowledging the real context that people live in…What is the real political, environmental, social context that we try to operate in every day?
Shame basically wipes all f that out, and says, “It’s not about the realities of the economy today, it’s not about the reality of the service industry, it’s not about the reality of benefits and healthcare. That has nothing to do with it. Something is wrong with you.”
Shame derives its power from being unspeakable and becomes self-limiting in a sense that it keeps us from building community. It keeps us from asking for help. It keeps us from seeing the sources of our struggle as being a larger issue, not just a personal character flaw.
Therefore, my Soul Harmony Seekers, speak your unspoken stories to souls who own their rights to hear your SHAME only….so healing can start!
The source of Wisdom: Brene Brown