-Dr. Brené Brown: “Shame Is Lethal” | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network

-Brené Brown on Empathy

– Conviction – Guilt – Condemnation – Shame – Which Is It? Mike Caven

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We feel guilty for what we do. We feel shame for what we are.

Lewis B. Smedes

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Shame is the warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, and never good enough.

Brene Brown

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The intensely painful feelings or experience of believing that we are flawed and

therefore unworthy of love or belongings.

“I am Bad.” “I am a Mess.”

The focus is on self, not behavior, with the result that we feel alone. Shame is never known to lead I was toward positive change.

Brene Brown

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Hebrews 12:2

 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(This YouTube Video is 4:26 Minutes in Length, Below is the Transcript)

Oprah is the color PURPLE

Brene is the color BLACK

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So first of all let’s just talk about shame –

you’ve studied it

I did

not many people have studied it


in fact I wanted to study it

and a lot of people said no

don’t study it – don’t study it

and then I was kind of a rebel rouser

you know

Hell raiser

and so I thought oh no

I’m gonna study it definitely if I shouldn’t study it

and I go to the book stacks at the library at the college

and the first article I pull says

the decision to study shame

has been the death of many academic careers

oh my goodness

I was like

student loans

death of the career

oh my god



you know why


nobody wants to talk about it


we have a visceral reaction to the word shame

so you say that

with your – are if you’re like on an airplane

they say, what do you do?

and you say

I study shame

people they literally turn the other way

I have answers based on whether I want to chat or not


and the answer

I say courage – oh yeah

I say shame – oh ah

these baby birds are fantastic aren’t they

wrap it up


ya know – the one two three is about shame

we all have it it’s the most human primitive emotion that we experience

how do you define

it the intensely painful feeling

that we are unworthy of love and belonging

and does that occur after a particular incident

or does it occur


you know

many life experiences



it could

it could happen in an instant

you know there are specific memories

that we can recall

that can bring up shame for us

but there are also very insidious quiet messages

that we just marinate in over a life time

this is what I have always known about

and tried to get across to people

and don’t think I was successful at it really

in the 25 years of the Oprah show

the thing about abuse

in particularly sexual abuse

most people think it’s about the sex

it’s really about the shame

that occurs after the sex and it’s keeping it the secret

and we’re only as as liberated as our secrets

and the secret creates the shame

and you end up feeling like you’re a bad person

and it’s the shame that damages your life

the actual act itself

people can get over that

but it’s the shame that you carry with it

there is no question in my mind

oh but sure about

that that’s just truth

that shows like

God truth yeah

I think shame is lethal

I think shame is deadly

and I think we are swimming in it deep

do people recognize


I think people don’t recognize

people have one or two reactions

when I say shame

they say

I don’t know what you’re talking about

but that has nothing to do with me

yep yep yep

I know exactly what you’re talking about

and I’m not talking about that

but here’s the bottom line with shame


the less you talk about it the more you got it

Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives


-silence and



so you put shame in a petri dish


and you douse it with

-a little secrecy

-a little silence and

-a little judgment

it grows exponentially

it will creep into every corner and crevice of your life

and shape all of your

shape everything

shape everything

the way you think you

think about yourself

the way you think about other people

don’t worry interact with other people

what you do

the choices you make

who you marry

all of it


you put the same amount of shame

in a petri dish

and you douse it with empathy


you’ve created an environment that is hostile to shame

shame cannot survive being spoken

it cannot survive empathy

so if I call you

if I

something really shaming happens to me

and you talk about it

and I call you and I say

oh god Oprah its Brene

you’re not gonna believe what happened

I’m in such deep shame

and you say what’s going on

and I tell you and you express empathy


shame can’t survive it

shame depends on me buying in

to the belief that I’m alone


you know I have a good friend Robert Hilliker who I work with

and he’s a therapist

and he always says

hey keep the shadow up here because it can only take you down from behind

whoa that’s good yeah

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Empathy is the understanding that another person’s world is just as real as your own.


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It’s extremely powerful to hear someone say, “I get you. I understand. I see why you feel this way.”

This kind of empathy disarms us.

Daniel J. Siegel

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People will hear you better if you speak from a voice of compassion instead of authority.

They long to be understood more than to be lectured.


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The power that exists between people when they feel seen, heard,and valued.

Brene Brown

(This YouTube Video is 2:53 Minutes in Length, Below is the Transcript)


So, what is empathy and why is it VERY different than sympathy? 

Empathy fuels connection. 

Sympathy drives disconnection. 

It’s very interesting. 

Theresa Wiseman is a nursing scholar who studied very diverse professions where empathy is relevant and came up with four qualities of empathy.

Perspective taking – ability to take the perspective of another person, 

or recognise their perspective as their truth. 

Staying out of judgment – not easy when you enjoy it as much as most of us do. (AUDIENCE CHUCKLES) 

Recognising emotion in other people, then communicating that. 

Empathy is feeling WITH people. 

I always think of empathy as this kind of sacred space. 

When someone’s in a deep hole and they shout from the bottom… 

..And we look and we say,


And climb down… 

Sympathy is,



“It’s bad, uh-huh?”




You want a sandwich?” 

Empathy is a choice and it’s a vulnerable choice. 

In order to connect with you, 

I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling. 

Rarely, if ever,

does an empathic response begin with,

“At least…” (LAUGHTER) 


And we do it all the time because,

you know what? 

Someone shared something with us that’s incredibly painful 

and we’re trying to “silver lining” it. 

I don’t think that’s a verb,

but I’m using it as one. 

We’re trying to put a silver lining around it. 


“I had a miscarriage.” 

“At least you know you can get pregnant.” 

“I think my marriage is falling apart.” 

“At least you have a marriage.” (LAUGHTER) 

“John’s getting kicked out of school.” 

“At least Sarah is an A-student.” 

One of the things we do sometimes in the face of very difficult conversations is we try to make things better. 

If I share something with you that’s very difficult,

I’d rather you say, 

“I don’t even know what to say. – I’m just so glad you told me.” 

Because the truth is,

rarely can a response make something better. 

What makes something better is connection.