Have You No Shame?

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Have you ever wondered the difference between shame and guilt? As you continue to read this blog post I will reveal what drives shame and how it differs from guilt. I will also share how to dispel shame and stop it from growing and ruining real connections in our lives.

Jungian analysts call shame “the swampland of the soul.” Shame is a focus on self; guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is “I am bad.” Guilt is “I did something bad.” Dr. Brené Brown (Vulnerability and Shame Researcher) stated in one of her TED Talks, “Shame drives two big tapes – never good enough – and, if you can talk it out of that one, who do you think you are? She also stated, “Shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide and eating disorders. Guilt is inversely correlated with those things.”

How do we rid ourselves of this shame monster? We talk about it! Shame cannot live in an open environment. Shame needs three things to increase exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. Empathy is the antidote to shame; empathy is the antidote to shame; one more time for the people in the back – empathy is the antidote to shame!

To quote Dr. Maya Angelou, “If a human being dreams a great dream, dares to love somebody. If a human being dares to be Martin King or Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa or Malcolm X. If a human being dares to be bigger than the condition into which she or he was born, it means so can you.” She went on to quote Roman playwright Terence, “I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.”

The Point:

Shame stops us from being daring. Shame is what hinders us from trying and striving. Shame is the monster in our ear that whispers, You’re not good enough or Who do you think you are?!” The next time you feel the warm wash of shame – talk about it. Find someone you trust -- a loved one or a therapist and call shame’s name out loud and watch shame dispel.  If you have ever experienced the warm wash of shame please remember – “nothing human is alien”. You are not alone; there is someone out there who is waiting to hear your story so they can say, “Me too.” The more we share the more we heal.

 Gem B.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gem has spent several years performing data analytics for both a fortune 500 company and nonprofits. She enjoys working with special populations and helping people realize their potential. She believes in asking “Why questions” and providing the “How to” solutions.

Gary Dansie