If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive. – Brene’ Brown
The human condition is such that we all do things we are supremely embarrassed and even mortified afterwards, especially when certain people find out and show disappointment in us. In fact, whenever I had a question in my mind about whether or not something was a good idea, I used to think, ‘What would my son, David, think if he found out? Would he be proud, embarrassed or disappointed in my choice?’ and that probably kept me from doing things I really should not do.
In the meantime, though, I have done plenty of things without thought that have caused me no end of sorrow and remorse. These are my stories of shame and in order to heal and move on, I needed to share them with somebody. In that process of sharing, I have learned there are people I should not share my shame stories with and here are some of the reasons why not to share is a good idea and how you can tell, sharing was a poor idea.
Things a real friend will never say when you are sharing your shame stories:
“Welcome to my life!” (Why is this a horrible thing to say? The intent is not to connect with the other person in a demonstration of understanding. The intent is to take the focus off the sharer to place it squarely on the person who should be listening in the moment of vulnerability.)
“Well you should be ashamed!” ( Why is this bad? Because the vulnerable sharer has hung their heart out there to instantly be put in a situation of feeling like they have to make the other person feel better and the depth of friendship just shrunk to a level it may not recover from, ever.)
“Oh you poor thing!” or “Bless your heart!” (Why does this suck? This is sympathy not empathy. It heaps more shame on someone who is already full of shame and humbly sharing. It is an ugly thing to say to someone.)
“I can’t believe you would do/say that!” (Why is this terrible? The sharer opens up their soul to have an alleged friend show disappointment which, also heaps more shame on.)
“It wasn’t that bad…” (Why is this not the way to react? Taking the wind out of someone’s sails for any reason is just poor, poor behavior. And an excellent time to shut up and listen.)
Watch the video link or any of Dr. Brene’ Brown’s other videos, for more details or better
yet read Dr. Brown’s books. I intend to. She really addresses how we get stuck in our shitty places and how those around us help us to stay in said shitty places, for years and decades,and she wisely shares what we need to know and do to GET OUT of our SHITTY PLACES. Sure makes me want to pay attention to anytime secrecy, silence and judgement pop into my mind, conversations or life. Namaste’