Personal Online Journal

Friday, November 22, 2013

Listening to Shame


"Being vulnerable is essential to wholehearted living."

"You're like the worst vulnerability role model ever"

"Vulnerability is not weakness and that myth is profoundly dangerous"
Let me ask you honestly (and I'll give you this warning, I'm trained as a therapist so I can outwait you uncomfortably. So it you can just raise your hand, that would be awesome)  How many of you, honestly, when you're thinking about doing something vulnerable or saying something vulnerable, think "Vulnerability is weakness". How many of you think of vulnerability and weakness synonymously?  [short pause for hands to raise]  The majority of people. Now let me ask you this question; this past week at Ted, how many of you when you saw vulnerability up here, thought is was pure courage? [another pause for hands]  
Vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as "emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty" It fuels our daily lives.  

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Shame drive two big tapes [scripts or sayings], "never good enough" and if you can talk it out of that one, "who do you think you are?"

Confronting shame brings vulnerability. Vulnerability brings power

A great Ted Talk by BrenĂ© Brown, "Listening to shame" (youtube)

"Shame is not guilt. Shame is a focus on self. Guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is 'I am bad'. Guilt is 'I did something bad' "

"Here's what you need to know. Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders. And here's what you even need to know more, guilt is inversely correlated with those things."

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Shame is organized by gender...
For women the best example I can give you is Aun-geli, the commercial. "I can put the wash on the line. Pack the lunches, hand out the kisses, and be at work five to 9. I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never let you forget you're a man."
For women, shame is "Do it all. Do it perfectly and never let them see you sweat."
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For men shame is not a bunch of competing, conflicting expectations. Shame is one. Do not be perceived as weak. 
Here is where it starts making the connection from shame to vulnerability.
Empathy is the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can't survive. The two most powerful words when we're in struggle: "me too"

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