18 October 2014

Shame Resilience, Part 4

This is part of a short series of posts on 'shame resilience.' The concept is Brene Brown's, and I'm simply making written ruminations on an interview published in Spirituality and Health.

 To recap, I am recasting Brown's theory of shame resilience into a process of sorts. Using her four characteristics of persons who are shame resilient (found at the end of the interview), I proposed a series of steps:

Step One: Learn what triggers our shame (see this post)

Step Two: Practice 'critical' -- I prefer the word 'compassionate' --  self-awareness (see this post)

Step Three: Reach out (today's post)

It's a lot easier to talk about shame if we can name, or be encouraged to name, what triggers it and are willing to develop the compassionate self-awareness that helps us face it honestly and with loving forgiveness toward ourselves. 

Photo by William Marsh

Even then, we need to be careful who we reach out to. Simply put, this person needs to be someone we can trust with our vulnerability. If they prove unworthy of our trust, we need to find another confidante. And we want to assess the level of our need: is this a deeply held shame that needs the professional attention of a minister, counselor or therapist? Or it may be that we simply reach out in apology to someone, or
go back and re-do a task we're not proud of.

Brene Brown says, in the interview I've linked to above, that "shame can't survive being spoken. Talking cuts shame off at its knees."

I am no expert. For the past thirty years, I've felt my way through this tricky terrain with the aide of all the resources I could find: a minister, a pastoral counselor, a spiritual director, good friends, family, my husband. So I don't pretend that this series of posts alone is enough to really help anyone suffering from inner shame.

But I have learned enough to perceive a deep truth in what Brown says. And I hope these posts plant a seed or encourage others to look further in their search for gaining shame resilience.

Thank you for reading my blog. You can leave a comment below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.


  1. "shame can't survive being spoken. Talking cuts shame off at its knees."
    Perfect. Nothing to add.

  2. Yes, it's perfect. It's the corollary to the 12-Step saying -- "our secrets make us sick."