cover image Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem

Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem

Joseph Burgo. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-15130-8

While shame is at least a small part of everyone’s life, it can be a source of empowerment for change, writes psychotherapist Burgo in this approachable book. Instead of minimizing feelings of shame and self-hatred, he argues, readers should embrace these emotions. Burgo believes that people can be liberated by finding joy in sharing painful stories with others, setting realistic expectations for personal goals, and acknowledging the aspects of shame that may never change. He considers case studies from his 35 years of practice and builds a composite profile of personality types he’s seen (such as narcissists, addicts, shut-ins, and pleasers), and shares some of his own struggles dealing with shame. Relying on and heavily referencing the work of Andrew Solomon and Brené Brown, he also uses different metaphors and charts in order to help readers see the various ways shame may be working in their lives and learn how it can be used to create pride instead of pain. Exercises at the end of the book will also help readers build self-awareness and avoid perfectionism (with an emphasis on setting and meeting goals and taking pride in one’s accomplishments). Using insight from his own career and other current work in psychotherapy , Burgo dispels the myth that shame has to be toxic. (Nov.)