What is Shame?Shame is more than just feeling embarrassed about something you’ve done. It’s a powerful and painful emotion that surfaces when we come to a realization that we have failed to reach an ideal state.One of the most well-known and respected authorities in the field of shame research is Dr. Brené Brown. Her TED talks about Shame and Vulnerability have amassed millions of views on YouTube and she is as entertaining as she is insightful. Three things Brown says about shame:
- We all have it
- We don’t want to talk about it
- The less we talk about it the more powerful it gets
Shame vs. GuiltOften we hear the terms “shame” and “guilt” used interchangeably, but their meanings are actually quite different. In her talks, Brown draws a clear distinction between Shame and Guilt.
- Guilt is feeling bad about a mistake you made. Guilt itself is not necessarily a negative emotion. It can be useful in allowing us to recognize that we made a mistake and gives us an opportunity to make amends.
- Shame is feeling that you are the mistake. Instead of feeling bad about an action, shame deals more with self-worth. It is feeling like we are no longer a good person because we do not match up to the picture of what we think a good person should be.