listening to shame

I just watched a powerful TED Talk from shame researcher Brené Brown. Wish I could embed it, but since I can't, I'll just ask you to follow the link, and I'll leave some quotes that caught my attention below:

"Vulnerability is not weakness, and that myth is profoundly dangerous... Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage."

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change."

"Shame drives two tapes: Never Good Enough, and if you can talk it out of that one, Who Do You Think You Are?"

"There's a huge difference between shame and guilt. And here's what you need to know. Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders. And here's what you even need to know more. Guilt, inversely correlated with those things. The ability to hold something we've done or failed to do up against who we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It's uncomfortable, but it's adaptive."

"We're pretty sure that the only people who don't experience shame are people who have no capacity for connection or empathy. Which means, yes, I have a little shame; no, I'm a sociopath. So I would opt for, yes, you have a little shame."

"Shame is an epidemic in our culture. And to get out from underneath it, to find our way back to each other, we have to understand how it affects us and how it affects the way we're parenting, the way we're working, the way we're looking at each other."

"If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can't survive. The two most powerful words when we're in struggle: me too."

"If we're going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path."


  1. Wow, that's fascinating. I always thought of guilt as like a healthy version of shame, but to here they're inverses of each other!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! It really puts a cool perspective on shame and vulnerability.