Shame can be a spicy topic to talk about and get to know. Especially if we were abused with a lot of toxic shame growing up. 

I started to learn about the complexities of shame when I was in the higher levels of Somatic Experiencing (SE) training, and also through my studies with Kathy Kain and Steve Terrell. Then I got more direct experience around toxic shame and the by-products of it when I met my husband and colleague, Seth Lyon. 

The thing with shame is that we only know what we grew up with, and this guest interview with my husband, Seth, outlines the polar opposites of our childhood and how one of us got the healthy kind and the other one got the toxic kind. 

Have a watch. 

By the way, it is possible that this concept of healthy shame is new to you (it is new to a lot of folks who are struggling with nervous system dysregulation and ill health).

It’s also possible that if toxic shame was present in your childhood, you might be mildly (or even massively) triggered by this topic. If this is true, I encourage you to feel these internal experiences, and when the time is right and you have some space, press play on this talk and have a listen.

[HINT: my husband had no clue there was such a thing as healthy shame when we met!]

I cannot stress how important understanding the difference between healthy and toxic shame is, especially if you care for kids in any way, shape, or form.

These distinctions, while subtle, are powerful and will influence the trajectory of a child’s life beyond measure.

Irene's Musings

Every now and then, I tweet something that hits a chord with folks, and this was one of them:

I think one of the reasons the work I’ve created has been potent for so many around the globe is because it brings in many different parts of the human system: 

  • Higher brain learning (via higher level education on how the nervous system works)
  • Reconnecting with our internal environment (sensations, emotions, organ systems) 
  • Recognizing our external environment (seeing the world around us, orienting)
  • Conscious movement (as well as self-awareness of that movement)

To date, the two online offerings that bring in this macro lens for healing the nervous system – The 21-Day Nervous System Tune-Up and SmartBody SmartMind – have reached close to ten thousand people in 90 countries. 

If you have yet to start your nervous system apprenticeship I hope you take some time to get to know these online offerings in the coming weeks (or maybe even today – click here to learn more). 

When we master this nervous system of ours, our capacity to be with our ever changing and often chaotic and stressful world grows, as does our regulation and resilience. 

Here’s to more mastery of our human vessel!!

* * *

Extra Resources to Complement the Vlog:

Peter Levine and his work:

Kathy Kain and her work:

Power Pose – Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk (how our somatic gestures can shift how we feel):

VLOG: Disgust – The Gateway Emotion for Healing Toxic Shame

VIDEO: Special Topic Lecture on Shame – The toxic kind. The healthy kind. 

ARTICLE: How toxic shame creates the fallout we call depression

VLOG: How to find a good somatic practitioner