Shame Resilience – What Is It?

November 5th, 2023 ANGEL TANG, AMFT













Shame triggers are often invisible, found in the fabric of society, the workplace, education, and even our families. While not always intended to harm, they can lead to a sense of being trapped in shame and persistent feelings of fear associated with moving forward.














shame resilience


Dr. Brené Brown, a renowned researcher on topics like vulnerability, shame, and empathy, has done extensive research on shame and vulnerability and has described shame in her own words as follows:


“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. We all experience shame. It is universal. It is a primitive emotion shared by everyone unless they completely lack empathy or the capacity for human connection.It’s not easy to talk about shame. Even mentioning the word “shame” can lead to an experience of the emotion and evoke a strong sense of fear. Talking about shame brings a sense of control. That control gives us the strength to overcome our feelings and move forward with our lives. “


She emphasizes that shame is different from guilt. Guilt is about feeling bad for something we have done or failed to do, whereas shame is about feeling inherently bad as a person. Brené Brown’s work revolves around promoting shame resilience, which involves developing the emotional tools and strategies to combat shame and cultivate a sense of worthiness and belonging.

When the topic of shame comes up, often we become at a loss of knowing what it is, and even if we know what it is, we avoid the topic. So, what causes shame? Brown says, while it is fueled by our sense of being trapped within such feelings, it is also the result of 



1. Unrealistic expectations
2. Worries regarding disconnection from others
3. An impossible mix of contrary choices 

 We are all capable of overcoming shame through building shame resilience. 

According to Brown’s (2007) shame resilience theory (SRT), we can learn and develop the following:

1. Capacity to recognize our experiences of shame

2. Ability to move through shame constructively, maintaining our authenticity and growing from our experiences

3. Stronger, more meaningful connections with people in our lives

These steps will be further discussed throughout future posts as well just as they are such important topics. As a first step, recognizing shame in our lives can be contemplating on the following:
What does this perception mean to me?
Why is it so unwanted?
Where did this belief come from?

When it comes to shame, understanding is a prerequisite for change. – Brene Brown



I hope you got some ideas and entertainment through this post. This post is not a replacement for receiving professional mental health help through mental health professionals. If you are struggling with mental health issues, persistent anxiety, or other psychological illness, please seek professional psychotherapy. I would be happy to help! A free consultation is a call away.




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