Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shame, Shame, Shame...

I love with this book! I also love the fact that I may never have heard of it if someone hadn't left it in my laundry room. So thanks neighbor!
In "I Thought It Was Just Me", Brene Brown focuses on shame and particularly women's relationship to shame. She writes: "Shame is about the fear of disconnection... We are afraid that we've exposed or revealed a part of us that jeopardizes our connection and our worthiness of acceptance." And before you stop reading this post, know that we all live with a certain amount of shame and most of us are too ashamed to even read or think about it. What I've learned from Ms. Brown is that NOT dealing with shame/acknowledging it and working through it can be crippling and dangerous. I began reading this book right after a relative of mine committed a totally unexpected suicide. I truly believe, his decision to end his life was closely related to his inability to deal with and process things he felt ashamed of. This book elucidates everything about shame (and so many other important issues) beautifully in ways that are clear, powerful and very easy to understand.
How does this relate to communication? As Brene articulately illustrates, shame often causes us to judge ourselves, and as a result others, harshly. She writes, "If, for example, we judge ourselves harshly and are incapable or unwilling to acknowledge our own emotions, we will struggle in our relationships with others. If we make a mistake and our self talk is, "I'm so stupid, I can't do anything right," then we are more likely to turn to our child or partner who has made a mistake and convey the same feelings... "
Brene also tell us that shame can cause us to put up what she calls "Shame Screens", behind which we engage in communication or lack of communication that is specifically designed by us to mask our shame. Needless to say, Shame Screens don't work and contribute to many ineffective and unauthentic communication habits. While reading this book, I've become so keenly aware of areas in my life where I carry shame. Will the shame in those areas ever go away? Probably not. But as Brene suggests, we can all benefit by developing Shame Resilience and this book and Brene's website, http://www.brenebrown.com/ helps us to do that. So go... read... enjoy... discover... become shame resilient.

1 comment:

Thanks so much for your comment!!