Shame vs. Self Compassion

Shame is a universal experience.

Shame can make us self-critical, embarrassed, and host negative beliefs about ourselves.

We often want to distract ourselves from shame and avoid the pain, but psychotherapist Joseph Burgo notes, “Sometimes that’s OK but sometimes defending against shame – instead of bearing with it – stops us from learning something.” How can you bring that lesson into the future?

The antidote to shame is self-compassion.

Shame can make us feel isolated, protective, and secretive. It perpetuates what we’d like to avoid. “If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three ingredients to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in the petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive,” writes Brene Brown.

Another aspect of compassion is curiosity. NICABM has this helpful chart which you can save and return to when you need to course-correct and lovingly transform shame: