I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

Brené Brown, ph.D., L.M.S.W.

Gotham,  February 2007

Shame manifests itself in many ways. Addiction, perfectionism,fear, and blame are just a few of the outward signs that Dr. Brene Brown discovered in her six-year study of shame's effects on women. While shame is generally thought of as an emotion sequestered in the shadows of our psyches, I Thought It Was Just Me demonstrates the ways in which it is actually present in the most mundane and visible aspects of our lives -- from our mental and physical health and body image to our relationships with our partners, our kids, our money, and our work.

We live in a culture that tells us we must reject our bodies, reject our authentic stories, and ultimately reject our true selves in order to fit in and be accepted. After talking to hundreds of women and therapists, Dr. Brown, in I Thought It Was Just Me, illuminates the myriad shaming influences that dominate our culture, and explains why we are all vulnerable to shame.

Outlining an empowering new approach that dispels judgment and awakens us to the genuine acceptance of ourselves and others, I Thought It Was Just Me begins a crucial new dialogue of hope. Through potent personal narratives and examples from real women, Brown identifies and explains four key elements that allow women to transform their shame into courage, compassion, and connection. Shame is a dark and sad place in which to live a life, keeping us from connecting fully to our loved ones and being the women we were meant to be. But learning how to understand shame's influence and move through it toward full acceptance of ourselves and others takes away much of shame's power to harm.

It's not just you, you're not alone, and if you fight the daily battle of feeling like you are -- somehow -- just not "enough," you owe it to yourself to read this book and discover your infinite possibilities as a human being.

hardcover | ISBN: 9781592402632 | Publication Date: February 2007

"Shame is a profoundly debilitating emotion. It drives our fears of not being good enough. We can learn to feel shame about anything that is real about us -- our shape, our accent, our financial situation, our wrinkles, our size, our illness, or how we spend our day. I Thought It Was Just Me is an urgent and compelling invitation to examine our struggles with shame and to learn valuable tools to become our best, most authentic selves. Grounded in exceptional scholarship and filled with inspiring stories, this is one of those rare books that has the potential to turn lives around."
--Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger

"Brené Brown has written an insightful and informative study of a subject that leaves many women feeling trapped and powerless. Her analysis of how women are often caught in shame, is in itself liberating, and her thoughtful suggestions will help readers continue to free themselves from emotional debilitation in ways they may not even realize are possible. I Thought It Was Just Me can be a doorway to freedom and self-esteem for many, many readers."
--Martha Beck, Ph.D., columnist, O: The Oprah Magazine, and author of Finding Your Own North Star

"Brené Brown's ability to explore shame and resilience with humor, vulnerability, and honesty is both uplifting and liberating. If we want to change our lives, our relationships, or even the world, we must start by understanding and overcoming the shame that keeps us silent. This important and hopeful book offers a bold new perspective on the power of telling our stories."
--Professor Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; campaign ambassador, International Campaign to Ban Landmines

"This is an important and inspiring book that offers understanding and validation to the painful feelings that come with the beliefs that we are not good enough or we should be different than who we are. Brené Brown walks us on a path that releases the shackles of inadequacy and leads us the embracing our authentic selves."
--Claudia Black, Ph.D., author of It Will Never Happen to Me