“[Vulnerability] is our most accurate measurement of courage.”
-Brene Brown

As human beings, we are designed to connect. Shame is the fear of disconnection. If people hear about ____ they won’t want to connect with us. Shame tells us two main things—we are “never good enough” and/or  “who do you think you are” (Brown, 2012).

Shame vs. Guilt

Guilt is the focus of behavior.

Shame is the focus on self.


Guilt: “ I did something bad” vs. Shame: “ I am bad”.

Guilt: ” I’m sorry, I made a mistake” vs. Shame: ” I am sorry, I am a mistake

Everyone feels shame, aside from people who have no capacity for connection or empathy (Brown, 2012).

What Do We Do?

 Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear but it is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, and of belonging (Brown, 2012).  

Brene Brown recommends to “let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee” (2012).

Don’t let the voice of shame silence you. Embrace vulnerability, treat yourself with compassion, and have courage to be imperfect. Embrace who you are, opposed to who you think you should be. Watch Brene Brown’s TED Talks for additional information to see how shame is impacting your life (links are provided below).

Please call Utah Healing Center (801-266-4643) if you would like someone to talk to regarding feelings of shame or guilt.

Written by: Hannah Wilde, CSW


Brown, B. (2010). The gifts of imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden.

TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

TED Talk: Listening to Shame https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame