Generally speaking, shame is a topic we like to keep out of sight and out of mind.
If we choose to acknowledge it’s presence at all, we keep it as far away from our public lives as possible. However, researcher Brené Brown argues that our personal, and by extension our professional, development cannot flourish unless we choose to confront the issue of shame.
In her follow up Ted Talk to ‘The Power of Vulnerability’, Brown explores the extent to which shame affects our lives. In this engaging and frank talk, she argues that we cannot talk about creativity, if we do not talk about vulnerability, and we cannot talk about vulnerability without discussing shame. To talk about shame, is to confront our own failings and our own privileges. Shame is the voice that says ‘you are not good enough’.
Brown’s shame research led her to recognize the broad extent of shame, and how it marks all areas of society. Yet one of her overarching messages, is about the relationship between shame, failure and success. For Brown, shame is the gremlin that stops us reaching for new opportunity. Unless we confront and accept the possibility of failure, we will unable to take on new challenges. In her humorous way, Brown’s talk calls on us to fail ‘whilst daring greatly’.
By Laura Stewart