What makes authentic relationships work…or not work? According to Dr. Brené Brown's research, the feeling of shame plays a big part in relationships and can cause many problems in one. Dr. Brown talks about the universal feeling of shame and her book I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power.
Dr. Brown says shame is the most primitive emotion human beings experience. "Shame is this feeling we get that something is wrong with us and that somehow we are flawed or inadequate in a way that makes us unworthy of a connection with other people," she says. Many people feel shame because they feel like we are not living up to the standards set by today's society, whether it's related to beauty, career or wealth.
Dr. Brown says there are three ways we react when we feel shame:
We move away and disappear, trying to hide from the shame that we feel.
We become "people pleasers," meaning we do whatever we think will make other people happy.
We use shame to fight shame. "When we feel shame, we normally respond out of this very primitive part of our brain that knows just a few modes—fight, flight and freeze," Dr. Brown says.