Shame Resilience in Action

Shame resilience in action

When we concluded our walk-through of the “how” of Dr. Brené Brown’s Shame Resilience Theory, we noted the concept of an “upward spiral.” This is a four-part process that we continue to work through on loop, but we’re never really starting over at the beginning. Instead, we’re progressing upwards (or forwards, if that’s easier to envision)—making progress, even when we return to the beginning of the theory.

In essence, it’s never as hard as the first time.

Every time we gain new language and skills against shame, we take a step forward in our emotional intelligence and our ability to navigate the world without internalizing every experience as a shame experience.

When we consider SRT in action, we work through the steps with past shame—the shame that we’ve already internalized and is showing up in our bodies, our behavior, and our self-esteem. As we process shame that already exists, this helps us become more adept at noticing shame in the first place: how it feels in our body, what circumstances trigger it, what some of our real vulnerabilities to shame are, and how it has begun manifesting in our lives. The way I internalize shame might be wildly different than the way you do—this is a distinctly individual experience and, unfortunately, not something we can just give you a textbook definition of.

But when we start to dial into our bodies and know what shame feels like, when we start to work through it and heal our nervous system’s reaction to shame through depersonalizing it, connecting with others, and eventually speaking it out loud, we have the ability to heal that shame.