Often shame and guilt are used interchangeably. Whilst guilt is a very positive emotion which prompts us to recognize we have done something wrong and serves to encourage us to make amends shame is much more pervasive and causes us to feel that we are something wrong, leading us to feel unworthy, socially disgraced and isolated.
According to the Free Dictionary shame is:
“A painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish: felt shame for cheating on the exam.”
Brene Brown, an award winning speaker who has spent the past ten years researching vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame gave one piece of advice that stuck with me at a core level. Brene’s self confessed mantra is:
“don’t text, talk or type anything” when you are in a state of shame.
Once you have calmed down Brene suggests confiding in a friend or family member. “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 you douse it with empathy you create an environment that’s hostile to shame.”
So the next time you feel shame, avoid reacting to the situation whilst you are in the state of shame and confide in friends so you can normalize what happened.
How do you react when you are in a state of shame? Have you tried any of Brene’s tips above? Do you have any tips of your own? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, I’d love to hear from you.