It would be impossible to estimate how much time and energy we invest in trying to fix, change, and deny our emotions- especially the ones that shake us at our very core, like hurt, jealousy, loneliness, shame, rage, and grief.
— Debbie Ford

VIDEO ON ANGER FROM BIRTH MOTHER ASHLEY MITCHELL: (password shame_lhapril)

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Mental Health Work:

Shame is something that every person will face at some point in their life.  For some of us, shame is something we face multiple times a day.  I want to start by telling you that there is NO SHAME IN SHAME!  It’s not an easy thing to overcome and that’s okay.  Shame and vulnerability researcher and author, Brené Brown, describes shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”   

The first step to overcoming shame is to bring it into the light.  “The less we talk about shame, the more power it has over our lives.  If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut if off at the knees.  When we bury the story, we forever stay the subject of the story.  If we own the story we get to narrate the ending” (Brené Brown, Daring Greatly). 

Another step to overcoming the shame you may feel is to remember to unbind what you do from who you are.  Remembering that you are not what you do is important.  Just because you made a mistake does not mean you are a mistake.  If a child is learning to walk and falls down, do we immediately decide they are a failure and will never be able to walk?  Absolutely not!  Instead we help them get back up and cheer them on as they try again.  So, I ask, why do we decide that we will always be a failure when we don’t succeed?  At what point in our lives did we decide that what’s good enough for others isn’t good enough for ourselves?  Remembering that your value is not found in what you do will help you to move past shame. 

Homework:

This month I want you to put a note on your mirror in your bathroom or your car.  Write on it “I got out of bed this morning.”  And every time you read that note, remember that you get a new day and a new chance to do things.  You get to bring shame into the light, honor it, and then shut it up.  You get to remember that you are not what you do.  You get to remember that you got up in the morning and were able to take a new breath. 

  • Does being aware of other people’s shame encourage or discourage you from sharing your own and does it make you more or less compassionate, and why?

  • Since you have drawn your shame, list 3-4 words, aside from shame, you would associate with your picture and why?

  • What are three ways you avoid shame?

GROUP ACTIVITY:

Get some colored pencils and let the girls draw what their shame looks like to them!! Allow them to feel everything they are feeling and then have them process what the picture looks like. Are they surprised, was it darker than they thought? Was it brighter? What are they feeling after letting some of it out?


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Books:

  • Women & Shame: Reaching Out, Speaking Truths & Building Connection by Brené Brown

  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

  • I Thought It Was Just Me by Brené Brown

  • Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame by Patricia A. DeYoung


Media Resources: