Shame: The Difference Between Men and Women

Posted on December 26, 2012. Filed under: Children and Adolescents, Healing, Lifestyle, Men, Parenting Tips, Relationship, Sex & Intimacy, Trauma, Women | Tags: , , |

Since men and women experience shame differently, it is important to understand how it may play out in a romantic relationship with your partner.

shame girlTypically shame presents itself in woman as having to do it all, do it perfectly, and never let others see you sweat.  For women, shame is a web of unobtainable conflicting competing expectations of who they are supposed to be.

boy ashamedAlternatively, men feel the pressure of not being perceived as weak or needing.  They are encouraged to be vulnerable, yet get ridiculed and beaten up if they fall or fail.  For men shame is a competition, a game of proving yourself, and the pressure to hold in emotions or not show sensitivity or softer emotions. And thus the automatic and familiar emotion that is expressed is anger, irritability or violence.

If you would like assistance in reducing the shame you experience in your life and improving your sense of self-worth contact True Potential Counseling to schedule an appointment today.

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The Power of Vulnerability

Posted on November 29, 2012. Filed under: Communication, Healing, Lifestyle, Love, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , |

Often times shame and fear stand in our way from taping into our power and true nature.  The beliefs “I am not good enough” or “I am unworthy” can cripple our mind and spirit from living our life purpose and connecting to our sense of self worth.

Brene Brown PhD, LMSW, a research professor at the University of Houston, has spent the past decade researching vulnerability and shame and has discovered some pretty facinating data that can begin to allow us to free ourselves from the chains of shame and begin to move through fear with strength and compassion.

In her research she discovered the main factor that gives us purpose and meaning in our lives in connection with others.  She also mentioned that worthiness, defined as a strong sense of love and belonging, is another important factor to evaluate when studying shame and vulnerability.  In her studies, she discovered that the only variable that differentiates those who feel worthy vs. unworthy is the belief that they are worthy of love and connection.

The common themes and patterns when analyzing the data, was that these whole-hearted people who believed they were worthy of love and connection, posessed the courage to be imperfect, had the compassionate to be kind to themselves and others, had connection with their authenticity, and were willing to let go of who they should be to be who they were, which is necessary for connection. The other factor is embracing vulnerability and not viewing vulnerability as being comfortable nor excruciating, but rather necessary.  These individuals believed what makes us vulnerable, makes us beautiful. Typically they were willingness to say I love you first, invest in a relationship that may or may not work out or take action even when there were no guarantees.

Alternatively, she found those who were uncomfortable with vulnerability or felt unworthy of love and connection tended to numb hard feelings and would try to manage the discomfort by numbing through addiction, eating, alcohol, trying to control uncertainty, being perfect, blaming others to discharge pain and regret, or pretending what they do doesn’t affect other people.  Unfortunately, by using these numbing strategies to escape the inevitable vulnerability that all humans face, they consequencially also numb themselves from the joy, gratitude, happiness that life has to offer.

The hope is that if we can heal the hurts and transform the negative beliefs of shame and unworthiness, we can begin to know on a deep level that we are worthy of love and belonging.  And thus, we can stop screaming and start listening; we can be kinder and gentler to ourselves and others; we can let ourselves be deeply seen; we can love with our whole heart without any guarentees; we can begin to practice gratitude and joy; and we can begin leaning into the discomfort of hurt with courage and embracing the joy we are worthy of receiving.

For more information on how to heal old hurts and limiting beliefs, please contact True Potential Counseling for more information.  If you would like to receive a blog post on a bi-weekly basis please subscribe on True Potential Blog.

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