— Brené Brown, author of I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
Message from Dr. B. (Linda Paulk Buchanan): Sometimes I wonder if shame should be categorized as an emotion. Emotions generally serve to motivate us into action. If I'm scared, I need to run. If I'm angry, I need to protect myself. If I love, I need to spend time with the person I love. It is the opposite with shame. Shame makes us feel like we should disappear, be invisible or hide. It makes you feel like you are unacceptable or just bad. Shame is debilitating and sets up a downward spiral in which we have no energy for enhancing our lives or contributing to others.
When you experience shame it may be most effective to simply step aside from it and focus on something that you can do for yourself (or someone else). Shift it to guilt if you have specifically done something wrong — if not, tell yourself there is no place for shame.