The difference between Shame and Guilt by Brené Brown
READING TIME: 2 MINUTES
Brené Brown has spent two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is also the author of several books including Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, a book that argues we should embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and engage in our lives.
To write this book Brené draws inspiration from a famous Theodore Roosevelt quote stating:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
In this TED talk, a follow-on to the one she has done on vulnerability, she brings us into the “unspoken epidemic” of shame and explores what happens when people confront their shame head-on.
It feels like the main point Brown is driving with both her TED talks is to embrace our vulnerabilities and expose them to others so we can live a more meaningful life.
Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is “I am bad.” Guilt is “I did something bad.” How many of you, if you did something that was hurtful to me, would be willing to say, “I’m sorry. I made a mistake?” How many of you would be willing to say that? Guilt: I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Shame: I’m sorry. I am a mistake.