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Entries in "Daring Greatly (1)


Disarming shame: Will 'naming it' alone really help?


Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.  That's why it loves perfectionists - it's so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we've basically cut it off at the knees.  Shame hates having words wrapped around it.  If we speak shame, it begins to whither.  - from "Daring Greatly," by Brene' Brown

Do you agree with this? What is true about Brene's claim?  What might be missing?

I have a great deal of respect for Brene' Brown, the quote's author.  I think her analysis of shame - what it is and how is disables us - is dead-on.  And I agree that we need to be talking about shame more, bringing its debilitating deception into the light.

Yet, I wonder if merely exposing shame by talking about it, "wrapping words around it," really heals it.  Yes, putting words to shame and how it hurts might makes us feel less alone because we've realized that shame is a universal kind of brokeness.  "Speaking to shame" might even help us gain more clarity around:

  • the underlying causes of our husband's distance and anger, 

  • or the sense that I'm never enough for anyone; despite my best efforts,

  • or why we end up believing that God's heart is set against us, rather than believing his intent is always deliverance, as mysterious as that deliverance often is. 

"Wrapping words around shame" may help us realize, "Oh, so that's why I feel so afraid of showing up with my full heart; or taking risks; of entering in." 

But does this mean the shame is healed?  - As in, that it no longer has power over us; and something more redemptive and glorious has taken its place?  I don't think so.  Only healing heals.

Think how often over the last ten years you've talked about that betrayal that haunts you; or the time that you were fired for no reason; or the years that the church leadership abused your trust.  How many different conversations have you had about it....yet the wound seems so unhealed, despite you naming it and understanding its effect more clearly?

My prayer for us is this: 
Father, heal the wounds of shame that have lied to us for too long.  Heal them with your affection.  And as you do this, we invite your Spirit to release the noble goodness of our new-hearted, Christ-given identity - knowing that we are now more worthy and valuable than we could possible imagine.