by Tom Swift

Brené Brown: “I think shame is lethal. I think shame is deadly. And I think we are swimming in it deep.”

Oprah Winfrey: “But do people recognize it, though?”

Brown: “People have one of 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’ or they say, ‘I know exactly what you’re talking about and I am 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: secrecy, silence, and judgment. So you put shame in a petri dish and you douse it with a little secrecy, a little silence, and a little judgement and it grows exponentially in our lives. It will creep into every corner and crevice of your life.

Winfrey: “And shape all of your—?”

Brown: “Shape everything.”

Winfrey: “The way you think, the way you think about yourself, the way you think about other people, the way you interact with other people, what you do, the choices you make, who you marry … all of it.”

Brown: “Yes. Now 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.”

-SuperSoul Conversations, Part II, 8-17-2017