A Dive Into Shame

Each month at Onward we explore a habit and disposition as we learn ways to cultivate our resilience. We also take a dive into an emotion, and this month our dive is into shame.

Elena Aguilar defines shame: Shame is a feeling that you are somehow wrong, defective, inadequate, and not good enough. It is hard to focus on the habit of being a learner if you are filled with shame because shame shuts down the learning circuitry of our brain. Shame often runs very deep and needs to be explored, but often as Elena shares, pervasive shame has its origins in childhood. If you experience a great deal of shame, please seek the professional help you deserve.

As we dive into shame, it is helpful to look at the work of BrenĂ© Brown. Her TED Talk Listening to Shame came after her talk on vulnerability initially reached over 4 million people. In her talk on shame she shares, “And I did not learn about vulnerability and courage and creativity and innovation from studying vulnerability. I learned about these things from studying shame.”

So in this month focused on becoming a learner to cultivate resilience, pause to examine your relationship with shame. There is not much space to learn if you are filled with shame. Do the work necessary to uncover this shame. Reflect on the space that it is taking up in your life and how it is holding you back. Put in this work knowing that on the other side is a stronger, more resilient you!