Claudine Phillips

How to Shake off someone else’s shame


“The heart of my work is truth telling and story.” Brene Brown

Some people feel uncomfortable when I ask “Tell me about you.” I understand. I used to freeze when asked the same question or divert and discuss how someone else is doing or even reflect and ask them how they are doing. It was safe.

Not talking about the things we must talk about is getting in the way of our authenticity…The pain…The Shame…The Fear of… The feeling of Vulnerability….these are the things we must talk about to achieve true relationship.


Let’s talk about shame. Brene Brown says that shame is the fear of disconnection. The feeling of ‘I am not worthy of connection if others see my imperfections.’If want to maintain my worthiness in the relationship, then I keep it light and don’t talk. Yet, the less I talk about my shame the more shame I have. If I don’t talk about my shame, then I will stay connected to that person. But in reality, there is no true connection to begin with if there is no vulnerability. If there is no talking about how you really are, there is no relationship.


No wonder I have struggled with perfectionism my entire life. Shame is the birthplace of the defense mechanism of perfectionism. The feeling that there is something that I had done or failed to do looming over me my entire life birthed my over controlling “nature”.

I have been shamed in the past of why I can’t I just stick a steak in the ground and “get over it” in a particular area in my life. I choose not to do this because this is a stopping point in my life. If I were to “just get over it” or move past the pain, I would learn nothing. God has great intention for me in this painful area of my life and I want to learn all I can from Him to grow closer to him. This allows me to be authentic and grow closer to those around me as well. I desire this greatly.


Starting with the “Why is there pain here?” is always a good first step for me.

I am a “Why” person. Why is it that I am yelling at my kids? Why is it that I have a rash on my arm? Why is it that I am so tired? I know ‘how to’ calm down, remedy the rash, and take a nap, but they will all come back if the ‘why’ is not addressed.

My journey of the “why” takes me deep into my soul. Courageously talking about the stuff that hurts, that brings up such pain is almost unbearable, but it needs to come out. Understanding my shame has helped me heal. Telling my story closes chapters and opens newer healthier ones.  We tend to have more authenticity, live with a deeper sense of love and belonging, and have a much more resilient spirit.


Authenticity is not a comfortable situation. We can’t choose to be comfortable and feel our pain. The pain doesn’t last, however. I numbed myself from the pain for a lifetime and shut many people out. I hid behind the shame that was placed on me and the shame I felt for not ever addressing it.  I had to choose to be uncomfortable for a while to work out the shame and pain. It wasn’t pretty or fun, but worth it.

Not talking about my stuff got in the way of authenticity in relationships for decades and its time to put this unhealthy pattern to an end.  Trusting my heavenly father and talking about the things I needed to talk about to trained therapists and trusted friends has set me free from my shame.


What a legacy to pass on to my people….

If you are struggling with pride, perfectionism, or shame you have hope. These are just masks to the deeper stuff we need to put into the light and out of the darkness. You have a Savior that was born just for you. To show you love, peace, rest and freedom. Trust in Him and your life with be forever changed.