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I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brené Brown
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“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
Brene Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences -- good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as "ordinary courage.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Compassion is not a virtue -- it is a commitment. It's not something we have or don't have -- it's something we choose to practice.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“We cannot grow when we are in shame, and we can't use shame to change ourselves or others.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“The biggest potential for helping us overcome shame is this: We are “those people.” The truth is…we are the others. Most of us are one paycheck, one divorce, one drug-addicted kid, one mental health illness, one sexual assault, one drinking binge, one night of unprotected sex, or one affair away from being “those people”–the ones we don’t trust, the ones we pity, the ones we don’t let our kids play with, the ones bad things happen to, the ones we don’t want living next door.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough"
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“This is the shame of the woman whose hand hides her smile because her teeth are so 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 seeing yourself, of being ashamed of where you live and what your father’s paycheck lets you eat and wear. This is the shame of the fat and the bald, the unbearable blush of acne, the shame of having no lunch money and pretending you’re not hungry. This is the shame of concealed sickness—diseases too expensive to afford that offer only their cold one-way ticket out. This is the shame of being ashamed, the self-disgust of the cheap wine drunk, the lassitude that makes junk accumulate, the shame that tells you there is another way to live but you are too dumb to find it. This is the real shame, the damned shame, the crying shame, the shame that’s criminal, the shame of knowing words like glory are not in your vocabulary though they litter the Bibles you’re still paying for. This is the shame of not knowing how to read and pretending you do. This is the shame that makes you afraid to leave your house, the shame of food stamps at the supermarket when the clerk shows impatience as you fumble with the change. This is the shame of dirty underwear, the shame of pretending your father works in an office as God intended all men to do. This is the shame of asking friends to let you off in front of the one nice house in the neighborhood and waiting in the shadows until they drive away before walking to the gloom of your house. This is the shame at the end of the mania for owning things, the shame of no heat in winter, the shame of eating cat food, the unholy shame of dreaming of a new house and car and the shame of knowing how cheap such dreams are. © Vern Rutsala”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“We put so much of our time and energy into making sure that we meet everyone’s expectations and into caring about what other people think of us, that we are often left feeling angry, resentful and fearful.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of 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.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Nothing silences us more effectively than shame.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“If empathy is the skill or ability to tap into our own experiences in order to connect with an experience someone is relating to us, compassion is the willingness to be open to this process.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Trying to escape media influences in today’s culture is as feasible as trying to protect ourselves from air pollution by not breathing.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“There are times we will miss the opportunity to be empathic. Mental health professionals often call these “empathic failures.” There are also times when the people around us will not be able to give us what we need. When this happens on occasion, most of our relationships can survive (and even thrive) if we work to repair the empathic failures. However, most relationships can’t withstand repeated failed attempts at empathy. This is especially true if we find ourselves constantly rationalizing and justifying why we can’t be empathic with someone or why someone is not offering us the empathy we need.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Until both men and women are allowed to be who we are rather than who we are supposed to be, it will be impossible to achieve freedom and equality.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Our culture teaches us about shame—it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“that imposter or phony feeling at work or school rarely has anything to do with our abilities, but has more to do with that fearful voice inside of us that scolds and asks, “Who do you think you are?”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“One of the greatest barriers to going back is related to empathy. If our goal is perfection rather than growth, it is unlikely that we are willing to go back, because it requires a level of self-empathy—the ability to look at our own actions with understanding and compassion; to understand our experiences in the context in which they happened and to do all this without judgment.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“The goal is to learn to recognize when we are experiencing shame quickly enough to prevent ourselves from lashing out at those around us.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“When we are experience shame we are often thrown into crisis mode...
In this mode, the neocortex is bypassed and our acess to advanced, rational, calm thinking and processing of emotion all but disappears...we find ourselves becoming aggressive, wanting to run and hide and feeling paralyzed...”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
tags: shame
“Courage gives us a voice and compassion gives us an ear. Without both, there is no opportunity for empathy and connection.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“If our goal is perfection rather than growth, it is unlikely that we are willing to go back, because it requires a level of self-empathy—the ability to look at our own actions with understanding and compassion; to understand our experiences in the context in which they happened and to do all this without judgment. I call this ability to reflect on our own actions with empathy “grounding.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“It’s important to realize that, often, the person we can turn to regarding one issue is not the best person to talk to about other issues.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Guilt and shame are both emotions of self-evaluation; however, that is where the similarities end. The majority of shame researchers agree that 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. If I feel guilty for cheating on a test, my self-talk might sound something like “I should not have done that. That was really stupid. Cheating is not something I believe in or want to do.” If I feel shame about cheating on a test, my self-talk is more likely to sound like “I’m a liar and a cheat. I’m so stupid. I’m a bad person.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“The majority of shame researchers agree that 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.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Laughter is the evidence that the chokehold of shame has been loosened. Knowing laughter is the moment we feel proof that our shame has been transformed. Like empathy, it strips shame to the bone, robs it of its power and forces it from the closet.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“Compassion is not a virtue—it is a commitment. It’s not something we have or don’t have—it’s something we choose to practice.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“How can we apologize for something we are, rather than something we did?”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
“During the interviews, many women associated shame with educators and helping professionals. As an educator, I was not at all surprised to hear shame identified as an issue in the classroom. In fact I believe that shame is one of the greatest barriers to learning. I’m afraid the social-community pressure to appear learned has become more important than actually learning. When we spend our time and energy building and protecting our image of “knowing,” it is highly unlikely that we will risk admitting we don’t understand or asking questions—both of which are essential to real knowledge building.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

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