Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.
Shame is the swampland of the soul. The core of rot. It’s important to visit the swamp and to look carefully at the core of rot. This doesn’t mean we stay there and stare forever.
Shame drives two big tapes in our minds: “never good enough” and, if you can’t it talk out of that one, “who do you think you are?”
Shame, however, is not guilt. Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior.
Shame = “I am bad. I am a mistake.” Guilt = “I did something bad. I made a mistake.”
Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, and eating disorders. Guilt is inversely correlated to those things.
In women, shame comes from: do it all, do it perfectly, and never let them see you sweat. Shame for women is a web of unattainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we’re supposed to be. Research shows that in this country, what women need to do in order to conform to female norms is to be nice, thin, modest, and to use our resources for appearance.
For men, one thing only: do not be perceived as weak.
Research shows that in this country, what women need to do in order to conform to female norms is to be nice, thin, modest, and to use our resources for appearance. Men need to show emotional control at all times, exhibit primacy at work, pursue status, and violence.
The antidote to shame is empathy. Shame needs three things to grow: secrecy, silence, and judgment. Douse shame with empathy and it can not survive.