I’m glad Oprah decided to spend another Super Soul Sunday with Dr. Brené Brown. Yesterday’s show focused on shame and fear and how they rule our existence. A joy-filled hour packed with aha moments, so many that I will probably watch the telecast several times to make sure I haven’t missed one.
When Dr. Brown started to study shame, she discovered that the decision to study shame had led to the death of many academic careers. No one wants to talk about the most human and primitive of emotions, one that Dr. Brown so aptly described as an intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.
She also differentiated between shame and guilt, demonstrating the power of our words.
I’m bad vs I did something bad.
I’m a mistake vs I made a mistake.
I was particularly impressed by the response Dr. Brown’s daughter gave the teacher who commented: “You’re messy.” Displaying a healthy dose of self confidence, the child replied, “I may be making a mess, but I’m not messy.”
As I listened to the telecast, I thought back to my own cancer experience. During those ten months, I discovered who could and who could not bear the weight of my new story. I will always be grateful to the five angels who called me that first weekend and offered specific help. No pity parties or flying debris from those wonderful friends. Thankfully, I did not have to endure too many insufferable comments: “Oh, you poor thing!”; “Bless your heart.” I was moved by the friend who approached me a year later and apologized for not being there for me.
• Unused creativity is not benign. It gets metastasized as rage, judgment, shame…
• Calm people are breathers. They breathe and ask questions.
• Cultivate laughter, song and dance. We need to let go of control and cool.
• Cool is an emotional strait-jacket.
• If there is secrecy, silence and judgment, shame grows exponentially and creeps into every corner and crevice of life.
• Shame is the #1 classroom management tool.
• Shame can’t survive empathy.
• Shame depends upon us buying into the belief that we are unworthy.
• Keep the shadow up front because it can only take you down from behind.
• Share with people who have earned the right to your story.
• Some people confuse connection with the opportunity to one-up you.
• Love and belonging are irreducible needs.