It’s a Shame

When you walk up to that arena and you put your hand on the door and you think, “I’m going in and I’m gonna try this”…shame is the gremlin who says, “uh, uh. You’re not good enough”… Shame drives two big tapes: “never good enough”, and if you can talk it out of that one, “who do you think you are?” – Brené Brown from her 2012 TED talk “Listening to Shame”

The other day I posted Brené Brown’s 2010 Houston TEDx talk about vulnerability. In March of 2012, she gave another talk at TED’s main conference in Monterrey, California on the topic of shame, which she has studied extensively.  I’ve watched both of these talks several times.  In the simplest terms, they struck me as powerful and profound.  Maybe having my feet firmly planted in mid-life is what has shifted me to this place of wanting to live as authentically, compassionately, and to have the clearest view of myself possible.  Not that I didn’t have those desires before, but the farther along the down-slope of my life I get, the more crystallized and urgent those desires become. And I have to say that the payoff thus far has been totally worth the effort.

Here are a few tidbits from her talk “Listening to Shame”:

  • Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, and eating disorders.
  • Shame for women is this web of unattainable conflicting, competing expectations about who we are supposed to be.  For men, shame is one thing – do not be perceived as weak.
  • Shame is an epidemic in our culture.
  • Empathy is the antidote to shame.  The two most powerful words when we are in struggle:  “me too”.

So let me just say, if any of this sounds remotely interesting to you, or like it might resonate, check out her talks.  And for no other reason than that the title of this song is in my head because of this post, here’s a little early 90s Lemonheads for your listening pleasure.  I do love this song.

About Chris DeVinney

Me in a nutshell: mom, writer, former lobbyist, wife, volunteer, lover of music and art, massive fan of traveling, and something of a smart ass. A typical INTJ, I quietly observe anyone and anything that comes into my orbit, squirreling away material for future essays. These days I spend my time writing about whatever interests me (both professionally and personally) and trying to strike the balance between taking care of kids/family/house/pets and me. Occasionally I nail it, hang on to it briefly, and then scramble back toward the center when the tipping starts again. I know, it’s a common story.
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