"1. We all have it. Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions that we experience. The only people who don't experience shame lack the capacity for empathy and human connection. Here's your choice: Fess up to experiencing shame or admit that you're a sociopath. Quick note: This is the only time that shame seems like a good option.
"2. We're all afraid to talk about shame.
"3. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives.

"There are a couple of very helpful ways to think about shame. First, shame is the fear of disconnection. We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually hardwired for connection, love, and belonging. Connection, along with love and belonging (two expressions of connection), is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Shame is the fear of disconnection — it's the fear that something we've done or failed to do, an ideal that we've not lived up to, or a goal that we've not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection. I'm not worthy or good enough for love, belonging, or connection. I'm unlovable. I don't belong. Here's the definition of shame that emerged from my research:

"Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.

"People often want to believe that shame is reserved for people who have survived an unspeakable trauma, but this is not true. Shame is something we all experience. And while it feels as if shame hides in our darkest corners, it actually tends to lurk in all of the familiar places. Twelve 'shame categories' have emerged from my research:

• "Appearance and body image

• "Money and work

• "Motherhood/fatherhood

• "Family

• "Parenting

• "Mental and physical health

• "Addiction

• "Sex

• "Aging

• "Religion

• "Surviving trauma

• "Being stereotyped or labeled"