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Shame & Empathy by Dr. Brené Brown - Szégyen & Empátia

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My name is Brené Brown and I am a shame and empathy researcher at University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. I am the author of the 'I Thought It Was Just Me' Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame. Why shame and empathy? So when I first started this work I was so excited to finally get an understanding of shame and what it meant and why so many of us have turned over big part of our lives to it So when I first started the work I was really passionate about talking about the 'what is it' and 'how does it work', you know I wanted to explain the people here is what I learned about shame, you know, here is how it works in our lives, because the thing, you know, probably a year into this research I knew 3 things: 1. We've all got it. 2. No one wants to talk about it. and 3. the less you talk about it the more power you turn over to it. So in the beginning I really focused on the 'what is shame' and 'how does it work', 'what is empathy' and 'how does it work' and as I would talk to people, I started to hear the why question, more than any other question. People were interested in the 'what is it', and 'how does it work' but what people really wanted to know is: "Why? Why are you studying this?" And: "Why are you insisting that we talk about this?" Because you know, the truth is that these are tough topics. When you tell people that you study shame, vulnerability and empathy, they kind of look at you like vow, were all the other topics taken, or did you draw a short straw at Research School? But that's not the case, you know. So people, and that's a mindful question here, why do you study it, why do you think we should talk about it? And s that's where I would like to start. And what's I think interesting about my answer, is that when I first... I could not have answered this question why shame and empathy 6 years ago, 5 years... maybe even 4 years ago. But now... after talking to hundreds of men and women around the country about shame, and how it affects the way they live, love, parent, work, build relationships, I finally for the first time and probably in my career understand why. If you think about connection - and I talk a lot about connection in my work - connection is our ability to forge meaningful authentic relationships with other people. I believe that connection is the essence of a human experience. It is what breathes life, gives meaning to our lives. If you think about connection on a continuum, what I have learnt is that anchoring this end of that continuum, is empathy. It is what moves us toward deep meaningful relationship. On the other side of the continuum connection is shame. It absolutely unravels our relationships and our connections with other people. And so to study shame and empathy and to ask people to engage in a rational conversation about these things, just for the sake of knowing shame and empathy, I think it might be too big of a question, you know, too big of a favour to ask people to talk about just for that sake. What I've learnt is that if we wanna understand connection, if we wanna understand what really feeds our human spirit, we have to understand what anchors both onto that continuum. The vulnerability piece is if you imagine this continuum, almoust like an equilizer on a stereo, and have a little nob that you can move, that nob is vulnerability. When we're in our best vulnerability, meaning open, willing to share not only our strength with people, but our struggles, that moves us towards empathy. Empathy is about being vulnerable with people in their vulnerability. It's about being with folks. If you slide that nob on continuum, you know over to shame, that vulnerability is worse. That's when "I can't let you see these pieces of me, because I fear that it will cause disconnection." courage, compassion & connection courage, compassion & connection 3 of the big questions I wanna answer in my research. Where shame and vulnerability and empathy are central. Have to do with courage, compassion and connection. And so, I'd like to kind of go through each of those. The first one is 'courage'. When courage first came into the English language, it had a very simple definition. It comes from the latin word 'cor', which means 'heart'. And courage meant: to speak your mind with your heart, to tell your story. I think over time that definition has changed in terms of the way we use it. But if you think about courage, and I use the term 'ordinary courage', which I read in an article by Amy Rogers. If you think about ordinary courage, telling our story, how do we do that in a 'culture of fear'? Shame, shame breathes 3 things: fear, blame and disconnection. So how do we practise courage in a culture where we are incredibly afraid of not fitting in? How do I tell you my story about those imperfect moments in my life? About the time when I was just not the mom that I wanted to be? About the time, when I really screwed up at work and lost the client? That I have a partner who is deep into addiction, and I am afraid for people to know, because I don't want them to stop caring about my partner, or question my judgement, in terms of being with him or her. How do I tell this story, which is the only way that we get out from underneath shame, in a culture, where belonging, and fitting in and being accepted are so critically important? So, we're in this culture right now what hasn't changed for us as people? It's the fact that we're wired for story. From the beginning of human time you know, we are wired to tell our story. We are not born to keep our, to keep secrets, we are not born, you know hating things about us, and not sharing them with other people, we are born to tell our story. So it's not people who have changed, it's the culture that has changed. And so how do we embrace and share the imperfections that make us who we are, in a culture where we are afraid to not fit in? The second piece is compassion, and that is really an important way we're related to a story, because stories are only a form of connection when someone is listening and hearing us. So how do we have the courage to tell our story, but then where do we find the compassion to hear other people's story? You know, one thing that's really important to understand about shame is that while it's universal and all of us have it, it's trigger for all of us in very different way. May be for me it's about body image, or parenting, or sex, or addiction, for someone else it might be about providing, money, aging, religion. One thing that's universal about it is just listening to shame can be shaming for us. So when.... if you would have shared your story with me, how do I stay open, and sit in that with you, as opposed to moving into blame and judgement?

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 37 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: stevealley1970
Views: 317
Posted by: szemereorsolya on Jun 3, 2011

Shame & Empathy by Dr. Brené Brown - Szégyen & Empátia

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