A to Z 2014: Shame

(An A to Z 2014 Challenge entry)


I am a person who struggles with Shame. It can be a big scary word that we all experience, it just tends to be scarier with those of us who struggle with it. I realized I have struggled with it for a long time, but it wasn’t until within the last year that I finally was able to identify and put a name to it (with a little bit of help).

You see, experts of shame like to compare it to a monster under the bed or in the closet. It doesn’t like to be talked about, and when we do it starts to go away — kinda like acknowledging the monster, then it is gone or less prevalent in our lives. Shame drives its power by being unspeakable, so that is why it loves perfectionists, it is often easy to keep us quiet. Perfectionists will always be their own worse enemies.

Brene Brown is a rock star when it comes to understanding shame and how to conquer it. Watch her talk, full of words of wisdom below.

I know the video is long, and highly encourage you to watch it when you have the time. If you need a condensed version, here are some closing notes and words of wisdom from one of Brene Brown’s books, Daring Greatly:

  1. We all experience shame. Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions. The only people who don’t experience shame are those who lack the capacity for empathy and human connection.
  2. We are all afraid to talk about shame. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives. There are a couple of very helpful ways to think about shame. Shame is the fear of disconnection. We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually hard wired for connection, love and belonging. Connection, along with love and belonging, two expressions of connection, is why we are here. And it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Shame is the fear of disconnection.

Have you ever struggled with shame? Have you ever heard or read Brene Brown before? 

Posted in A to Z Challenge, Struggles
9 comments on “A to Z 2014: Shame
  1. John Holton says:

    I’ll have to watch this when I get a minute. Shame is a powerful thing; I’m still ashamed of things I did fifty years ago. Silly things, but I was made to feel shame for them, anyway…

    Stopping by from the A to Z Challenge.

    • kborman says:

      Thanks for stopping by John, and for sharing your experience with shame. But it is important to know and realize that Brene Brown identifies that those who do not live with shame are sociopaths. So in many regards, it is a good thing! It is just how we deal with the shame that is the hardest part, yet the most important.

      Many times people confuse and compare guilt with shame which can be very limiting. They are two similar yet very different and independent beasts to conquer. This short video helps explain the difference.


  2. I.L. Wolf says:

    Hi from the A to Z challenge! It’s so brave of you to talk about your shame this openly. You should be proud of yourself.

  3. […] talked about Shame, but it is really hard to talk about shame without Vulnerability. I briefly talk about my struggles […]

  4. I found this invaluable, thank you. Also, for adding the closing thoughts, because I admit, I wasn’t going to watch the video. I spent years eradicating any notion of shame in myself. I still haven’t conquered guilt, though.

    • kborman says:

      You are most welcome. It was, by far, the most personal post. Guilt and shame are similar yet different. Both equally hard. I have struggled with both, at different times in my life.

  5. Jak Cryton says:

    I liked the video, she is a really good presenter. I really like many of the TED Talks I’ve seen over the past few months.

    I’m sure I’ve dealt with Shame many times in my life (Uh… if not all the time), but to be honest, I’m not so sure I’ve ever really identified it as such.

    I agree that not talking about things/hiding things are what gives things like Shame the power they have over us.

    I love that last point made about Shame being the fear of disconnection.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

  6. kborman says:

    She is a phenomenal presenter. TED talks are so inspiring, I love them too.

    I certainly have dealt with it most of my life too, I just never had a term for it. I know I fear disconnection way too often.

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