Brene Brown, Ph.d., LMSW (2012)
“Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subverse… there really is ‘no effort without error and shortcoming’ and there really is no triumph without vulnerability.”
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen”
- Daring Greatly: understanding that vulnerability is a key part to living a wholehearted life.
- Vulnerability: uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.
- Shame: intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore are unworthy of love and belonging.
- Leader: anyone who holds themselves accountable for finding potential in people and processes.
Introduction to Concepts:
Culture of Scarcity: “We are never enough/We never have enough.” This stems from shame,
comparison, and disengagement.
- Opposite of scarcity is not abundance but is actually just ‘enough’ or what Brown (2012)
Shame: National Institute of Mental Health found that intense experiences of social rejection can
hurt as much as physical pain. Emotions can hurt and cause real pain.
- Difference between shame and guilt. Working through guilt can help us mindfully grow.
- Shame: I am bad Guilt: I did something bad.
- Shame is highly correlated with addition, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders and bullying and fuels disengagement.
- Shame begins to become a self fulfilling prophecy: People start to believe they deserve their shame and internalize it.
Shame Resilience: The ability to practice authenticity when we experience shame, to move
through the experience without sacrificing our values and to come out on the other sides of the shame experience with more courage, compassion and connection that we had going into it.
- Shame resilience is about moving from shame to empathy.
- 4 Elements of shame resilience:
- Recognizing shame and understanding its triggers
- Practicing critical awareness: Reality check the messages that are driving shame
- Reaching Out: Owning and sharing your story
- Speaking Shame: Talking about how you feel/what you need when you feel shame
Trauma: Research participants who had experienced trauma but carried on to live wholehearted lives
spoke deeply to: acknowledging the problem, seeking professional help and/or support, working through the accompanying shame and secrecy of the trauma and approaching the reintegration of vulnerability as a daily practice into their lives.
Disengagement: We disengage to protect ourselves from vulnerability, shame and feeling like we have no
purpose. We also disengage when we feel like the people who are leading us (i.e. teachers,
principals, counselors etc.) aren’t living up to their social contract.
- We have to bridge the gap between our practiced values (what we are actually doing) and our aspirational values (what we want to do, think, or feel).
Vulnerability Amory: Beginning as children, we start to find ways to armor ourselves from being
vulnerable. These are the main ways we armor ourselves and what we can do to start to remove the armo
Foreboding Joy: Shutting down joy by reminding ourselves of all that can go wrong instead of being present and in the moment and enjoying joyful moments (rehearsing tragedy).
- Thinking about the worse case does not make it any easier to cope if the worst does come.
Practicing Gratitude: acknowledging how truly grateful we are for a person, a connection or a simple moment before us.
- Joy comes to us in ordinary moments, being grateful for what we have and not squandering the moment.
Perfectionism: Self destructive behaviors due to the non-existence of perfection.
- Sets us up for shame and self judgement.
Appreciating the Beauty of Cracks:
- Self kindness,
- Common Humanity (reminder that everyone goes through this)
Numbing: We numb the pain that comes from feeling inadequate and less than. We tend to numb because of shame, anxiety and disconnection.
- Numbing starts by casually covering up emotions/behaviors we don’t want to face.
Setting Boundaries, Finding True Comfort and Cultivating Spirit: Learning how to actually feel your feelings
- Staying mindful about numbing behaviors
- Learning how to lean into the discomfort of hard emotions.
Implications for School Counselors:
Childhood experiences of shame change who we are, how we think about ourselves, and our
sense of self worth.
- School Culture makes a difference.
- Self Worth can be tied to performance, this ultimately leads to shame.
- Shame is the silent killer of innovation and creativity, which usually starts in school.
- School counselors can model “daring greatly” and encourage vulnerability in students as well as teaching them to cope by “leaning into” the discomfort of tough feelings and cultivating shame resilience.
- Setting boundaries, finding true comfort and cultivating spirit: stop emotional numbing before it happens.
- Teaching/embracing that a child is not defined by their behavior.
- You are bad vs. you made a bad choice (Shame v. Guilt)
- Restorative justice: positive punishment over shaming.
- Counselors as leaders: having tough conversations with teachers/admin who are using shaming practices and being able to provide meaningful feedback while educating on the effects of shame.
- By creating a culture of leaders, students will see modeling of shame resilience and vulnerability in action.
Literature Review provided by Rachael Kobe, Sonoma State University Graduate School of Counseling, Spring 2018.