Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I am Enough” -Brene Brown

Buy Affiliate Link

I really loved the interview of Brene Brown on youtube hence I thought to read her work and it seriously made an impact on me.

For the first time I realized there is difference between shame and guilt and how to deal with them. Brene Brown gives so many examples to make her every point crystal clear to the readers.

Her way of writing is so engaging and it really made me to read through it and agree with on many points.

The words of wisdom from the book are:

  • We all experience shame. It is an absolutely universal emotion. The less we understand shame and how it affects our feelings, thoughts and behaviors, the more power it exerts over our lives.
  • “You CANNOT shame or belittle people into changing their behaviors.”
  • Guilt and shame are both emotions of self-evaluation; however, that is where the similarities end.
  • The difference between shame and guilt is best understood as the differences between “I am bad” (shame) and “I did something bad” (guilt). Shame is about who we are and guilt is about our behaviors.
  • The expectations that fuel shame for women are based on our culture’s perception of what is acceptable for women.
  • Shame is about the fear of disconnection.
  • Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. Women often experience shame when they are entangled in a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations. Shame creates feelings of fear, blame and disconnection.
  • Empathy is about connection; sympathy is about separation.
  • There are four Elements to deal with Shame as:
    • The First Element: Recognizing Shame and Understanding Our Triggers
    • The Second Element: Practicing Critical Awareness
    • “Awareness is knowing something exists, critical awareness is knowing why it exists, how it works, how our society is impacted by it and who benefits from it.”
    • The Third Element: Reaching Out
    • The Fourth Element: Speaking Shame
  • More than any other method, storytelling is how we communicate who we are, how we feel, what’s important to us and what we need from others.
  • For example, women’s shame experiences fall broadly into the twelve shame categories—appearance and body image, motherhood, family, parenting, money and work, mental and physical health, sex, aging, religion, being stereotyped and labeled, speaking out and surviving trauma. In addition to the shame categories, we also share culture. In our culture today, the fear of disconnection feels very real.
  • There may be no more powerful relationship than the one that exists between fear and shame. These two emotions often work together to create the perfect emotional storm—shame leads to fear and fear leads to shame. They work together so furiously that it’s often hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.
  • Imperfection brings shame, and working too hard for perfection brings shame.
  • Invisibility is about disconnection and powerlessness. When we don’t see ourselves reflected back in our culture, we feel reduced to something so small and insignificant that we’re easily erased from the world of important things. Both the process of being reduced and the final product of that process—invisibility—can be incredibly shaming.
  • There is a beautiful quote from spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson that really inspires me. As you read it, I invite you to think about what she has written in the context of experiencing shame: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
  • Dr. Saleebey writes, “It is as wrong to deny the possible as it is to deny the problem.”
  • We cannot change and grow when we are in shame and we can’t use shame to change ourselves or others.
  • We focus on our shortcomings and ignore and take our strengths for granted.
  • We are wired for connection. All of us, men and women alike, have the basic need to feel accepted and to believe that we belong and are valued.
  • Do not let people see anything that can be perceived as weakness.
  • We are wired for connection. It’s in our biology. As infants, our need for connection is about survival. As we grow older, connection means thriving—emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually.
  • Connection is critical because we all have the basic need to feel accepted and to believe that we belong and are valued for who we are. Although it might seem overly optimistic that we can create a culture of connection simply by making different choices, I think it is possible.
  • Change doesn’t require heroics. Change begins when we practice ordinary courage.

I highly recommend reading this book.