catching your breath podcast

What is shame? (And how to heal it.)

Welcome to Episode 32 of Catching Your Breath: The Podcast, with Steve Austin! In this episode, we’re talking about what shame is, how it can impact your daily life, how to share it, and how to heal it. Keep scrolling for more great shame resources, plus my free workbook!

Healing from shame isn’t something you can do overnight. It’s a process that can take months or even years. The good news is that you don’t have to take the journey alone. Many professionals have written insightful guides that can guide you on this journey. Here are a few books you may want to pick up…
Self Care for the Wounded Soul: 21 Days of Messy Grace (by Steve Austin, with Kate Pieper, LMFT)

If you have ever felt hopeless, if you have ever believed that all the bad things in your life were beyond redemption, if you have ever felt unworthy of being loved or accepted, if you have ever feared what would happen if people found out whatever it is that haunts you – I get it. I have been there, too.

Maybe you are recovering from abuse, addiction, or a suicide attempt like me. Maybe you are struggling with anxiety or depression and don’t know why yet. No matter what your starting point is, the tools in this journal will help you begin to answer the question, “Now what?”

You’re tired of living this way. You want to change your life, and you don’t know where to begin. I hope this 21-day self-care journal will help you answer that question. It’s time to take ownership of your life, and that begins with good self-care. It’s hard work, but you can do it. No more running, no more hiding, no more masks. No matter what your journey has looked like so far, recovery is possible. I am living proof.
Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw

One book that can be helpful for you’re dealing with shame is Healing the Shame that Binds You. In this book, the author discusses shame, how it develops, and what to do about it.

Much of the book has been influenced by the author’s own experience with alcoholism. He shares many of the same concepts found in the 12-step program. So if you’re dealing with an addiction as well as shame, you may find this resource the most helpful.
I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown

Brene Brown’s book, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) isn’t just about shame. It’s about living authentically and letting go of the need for perfection. She encourages readers to embrace their flaws and imperfections and release their guilt.

Although anyone can benefit from reading this book, many of the stories and interviews inside it are related to motherhood. If you’re struggling with being a parent, this can be an eye-opening read.

If you want to learn more shame and how it’s affecting you, consider watching Brene Brown’s TED Talk titled Listening to Shame. It’s both educational and inspiring.
The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves by Curt Thompson

In The Soul of Shame, psychiatrist Curt Thompson, invites you to take a look at how shame is affecting your life. He explores the different ways shame enters your life and how to experience true and lasting freedom.

The author is an expert in interpersonal neurobiology, so some people found his book can be a bit academic in parts. He’s also a Christian and much of his content stems from a Christian worldview, so you can expect to encounter some theology in this book as well.
Living with Your Heart Wide Open by Steve Flowers and Bob Stahl

When you carry shame with you, it’s easy to hold onto negative thoughts. That’s why in Living with Your Heart Wide Open, the authors spend much of the content focusing on mindfulness and self-compassion.

Many reviewers loved that the book was good for self-discovery and healing of internal wounds. There’s a heavy influence on meditation and Buddhist principles. The authors discuss common scenarios and recommend healing meditations for them.

Reading about how others are affected by shame can be freeing. It’s freeing to realize that you’re not alone in your pain and that healing can be found. It may not be easy but it is a journey you’ll never regret taking.
How is shame affecting your life? Find out when you download your free workbook! (Just click here.)
Read Steve’s article for USA Today on how churches should look more like psych wards. (Just click here.)

By Steve Austin

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.