What is Shame Resilience?
In her book, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” Brene' Brown covers the effects of shame on women as it relates to her own experience and that of thousands of women in her research.
Her work on shame resilience (that ability to recognize shame when we experience it, and move through it in a constructive way that allowing us to maintain our authenticity and grow from our experiences) teaches us all specific practices and ways to manage shame with authenticity and wholehearted bravery.
Naming or recognizing shame when it shows up is a key ingredient in shame resilience. When we try to ignore shame, or fail to recofnize it, it grows in power. One of the great tools for naming shame in the book comes in the form of a poem. This poem, by Vern Rutsala, identifies spaces where shame shows up in life with grace and honesty:
This is the shame of the woman whose hand hides
her smile because her teeth are bad, not the grand
self-hate that leads some to razors or pills
or swan dives off beautiful bridges however
tragic that is. This is the shame of being yourself,