On shame

I had a really rough week. I don’t want to get into details, but one of those weeks you are so stressed out you can’t sleep, and you have hard time breathing. It was tough. The good news is, this wasn’t the first time I felt like I hit the rock bottom. I’ve done this before, and in my mind, I knew I’d survive. But that’s not the hard part. Hard part is going through the hard part.

Famous saying goes “When you are going through hell, keep going”, but that’s not easy. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, hard part is not believing there is a light at the end of the tunnel, hard part is actually going through the tunnel.

But I had a small epiphany during this time.

Harder still is admitting that you are going through the hard time. Because shame.

It is so hard to ask for help. Because shame.

She is in trouble again” “When is she going to learn?

I’m not actually afraid of asking for help. I was afraid of shame.

I don’t have mental illness or depression…but I suffer from shame.

I’m sure you do too.

I had to go re-watch Brené Brown’s TED talk on shame.

She says shame is like a gremlin, it’s an auto-repeat tape inside your head that keeps saying “You’re not good enough” and laugh “Who do you think you are?

My gremlin says “Why do you keep making the same mistake?“When are you going to learn?” “Isn’t it time you grow up?”

Brené says if you want to grow shame, just add Secrecy, Silence and Judgement in the petri dish and you will have a shame storm.

Then how can we stop it?

Antidote to shame is empathy. 

Shame HATES being talked about. If you add empathy to the petri dish of shame, it cannot survive.

That’s why I’m sharing my story. Yes, I have shame. I think I keep making the same mistake and getting in trouble all the time. I don’t think I’m smart enough. I think I should grow up like everybody else and I should have a bigger house or two. These are all my gremlins talking.

This past week, guess what happened when I shared my struggle with some of my close friends? Nobody said “Why are you keep making the same mistakes?” Nobody made fun of me.

Some of them even shared their struggles with me. That’s like an ultimate empathy. “Me too”s. One of my friends was having a hard time with something that happened to her 15 years ago. Her gremlin says “Why can’t you let it go?” Other friend told me her business is failing. We can only imagine what her gremlin is saying to her.

I know there are so many people suffering in silence. Because their shame gremlin says they’re not good enough. But – you cannot be silent.

Gremlins are wrong. Let’s talk about them, as they HATE to be talked about.

You are enough. You matter. When you share what you are going through, I will never judge you. I think you are courageous. And courage is contagious.

Antidote to shame is empathy. “Me too” is empathy.

Hi, my name is Yukari and I suffer from shame. But I am going to talk about it. Because I’m just like you.

  • Amen! I’ve felt no shortage of shame. People who harmed me made a fool of me to seal the deal, leaving me feeling ashamed while they celebrated the damage they dished out. Then they moved on and looked with a “Oh, you’re mad about that?” — something else to feel ashamed about.
    The circumstances put upon you can spark feelings of shame, but don’t feel ashamed. Ask for help.

    • Yeah. When someone hurt/harms you somehow we feel the shame…shame on them, not us. That’s totally backwards.