“If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host Brene’ Brown’s TED talk on Vulnerability is one of the most watch TED Talks of all time. Her books and currently her Unlocking Us podcast are loved by many (which includes me). Her quote today serves as a reminder of the importance of us establishing solid relationships with one another. One of the hardest things for some of us is to share with another person our story, the ups and downs of our journey to get to where we are today. It may be challenging because of the hurt we have suffered and having buried that hurt for so long. It takes a lot for someone to put themselves out there and not feel like they will be judged by another based on their own belief on something. That is why trust is at the foundation of any relationship.
The purpose of today’s message is two fold: how we should be a good friend for others in order for them to share their story and how we need to trust those that we consider as friends, by becoming vulnerable and tell them our story while at the same time having the confidence that they reserve judgement by show empathy and understanding. If we can do this, shame itself cannot ever survive. Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. It is a feeling that we all have experienced at one time or another and is something we all try to avoid.
When we or others exhibit empathy we have the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference; in other words, we are able to look at things through their own lens. This shows a real sense of commitment within the friendship and further strengthens that bond in the process. One thing we have to realize is that we all have had things in our life happen that we are not very proud of. So long as we learn from them by sharing with someone else what we did learn, then we are able to truly grow.
As mentioned before we need to be vulnerable in trusting others when we share our story and allow them that same courtesy because at the end of the day no one is perfect. When we realize and acknowledge that we are all human and make mistakes, more doorways to becoming more comfortable in sharing our story will come naturally. Shame needs fear and if we don’t give into that fear, shame will become nonexistent.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards developing your relationship skills?