Friday, May 4, 2012

Sharing an excellent TED Talk with you

True, this doesn't really count as a blog post. But you need to hear this. Trust me.

I first heard Brene Brown on Voices in the Family with Dr. Dan Gottlieb (one of my favorite ways to spend Sunday morning is to listen to my local NPR station, WHYY in Philadelphia). And I loved what she had to say! She is a researcher (cool!) who studies shame and vulnerability (wow!). 

In this TED talk, she tells us about how being vulnerable is an act of courage. More importantly, she reminds us that shame is diminished with empathy. 

I have a lot to say (shocking, I know) about both vulnerability and shame, but enough of my blather!  I want you to listen to this talk, because it's important. 


Celia said...

Thanks for posting! I watched the entire piece and am very glad I did...though I DID close the door so no one could listen in and know I was watching this. Baby steps, yeah? ;)

Celia said...

While she was discussing shame as organized by gender, all I could think about was the book Fire in the Belly by Sam Keene. A fantastic read for men and women who want some worthwhile insight on men. I think you'd really appreciate it.

Roia said...

Celia, thank you twice- for coming over to visit (yes, indeed, baby steps) and then for sharing this book! I've not heard of it, but it sounds as if it's something I'd like to read. This topic (gender and shame) (which, um, is two topics, isn't it?) is of particular interest to me, because a large majority of the folks I serve as a music therapist are men (specifically, men who've been shamed).

I've thought a great deal about how one's identity as a man (and as a woman) is shaped as a result of growing up in an institution. And it's something I try to bring up in sessions when it seems there may be something going on around identity.

To that end, I've been slowly (quite) making my way through "Iron John" (Robert Bly) and I just (really- just) signed up for a webinar series with the Psychotherapy Networker on therapy from a male perspective. I'm very much looking forward to learning more and having new thoughts to think about this.

Shame is such an intense issue, and (while I need to think about this some more) I think, if nothing else, it implies there is, at least, a sense of a self- of existing in some way and of being a person who is relating to other people. And that is hard to get at sometimes (initially, at least) in my work. I'm inclined to say the difficulty is more a result of growing up without the use of speech and with a lot of labels, assumptions, and expectations (or lack of such) as to what that means and who the person is/isn't/will/won't be.

So, again, thank you! When I finally finish the three or four books I'm in the middle of reading I must put the Sam Keen one on the list!

Celia said...

I've rarely had the experience of working with folks who are nonverbal so I've never really considered what a feeling like shame, so intensely personal and primary to one's sense of self, might look/act like in that context. And as someone who is (as we've discussed) extremely verbal- it's hard to even wrap my brain around it...which makes me want to keep trying until I can. You've given me lots to think about just from your comment!

Roia said...

Just to clarify (and it's not that your comment made me think you heard it this way- it's just that I re-read what I wrote and realized it could be said more clearly- certainly not more succinctly!), what I meant with regard to connecting the non-use of speech to shame was with regard to the way people who don't use speech as their main communication mode are often viewed. Not that a lack of speech is inherently shame-related.

I'm inclined to think people who have lived in institutions may be more likely to experience shame on a variety of levels and not necessarily in the way one would expect. One thing I've pondered: do folks with disabilities hold the shame for the family (i.e., is this the person the family unconsciously designates as "the problem"). By extension, "if we put you in an institution, perhaps that will help/alleviate 'the problem'."

There's also a lot of assumptions about what people who don't use speech understand and don't (regarding what other people are saying). And people in institutions listen to their staff people (and also their families) have lengthy, and not necessarily flattering, discussions about them (and their personal and private matters) all the time (in front of them and in front of anyone else who happens to be around).

Sorry to go on and on, but these are all issues that come up frequently in sessions, so they're often on my mind (in a perpetual and unending effort to make some sense of them).

Celia said...

Oh absolutely! My thinking is in line with what you bring up in your second comment...insensitive treatment from others, or really, just from WHATEVER source from which shame could pop up, HOW is it experienced/expressed. It's hard enough to articulate even for those of us who have the luxury of using (hiding behind, maybe, sometimes?) language...

Sorry...I'm sleepy and rambling...but this is really worthy stuff to meditate on.

Tamara G. Suttle said...

Roia! I'm a huge fan of Brene' Brown! Thanks so much for sharing this TED Talk! I love her book, The Gift of Imperfection! So want to hear her speak in person.

I also ran across this amazing manifesto, The People Who "Are" a while back. That, in turn, led me to pick up a book on how disabled people were systematically murdered during the Holocaust. shocking and fascinating information.

Just thought I would catch you up on what I've been reading! Looking forward to connecting with you face to face next week!

Roia said...

@Celia I want to give this question of yours more thought (perhaps a blog post about how shame may/may not be expressed when someone doesn't use speech). Of course, as I think about it, most people don't express shame overtly, do they?

@Tamara I am enjoying learning about Brene Brown's work. I have been (along with six other books) (oy) trying to make time to read "I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power".

Meanwhile, thanks for the link to Dave's blog on the "R" word. I recall reading it when it first came out. I must admit to a great need to learn about institutions and the dreadful treatment of people with disabilities over the centuries. There is, actually, a Disability History Museum where you can learn more!

Joining you in excited anticipation of our live meeting at last!

Celia said...

No, most people certainly don't! But I feel like shame tends to be very tied to an internal dialogue that perpetuates the emotional response...

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Melissa Blake said...

This is so true...thanks for sharing!