Brené Brown describes shame as the painful feeling that we are not worthy of love and belonging. Shame is fed by secrecy and silence, by us buying into the belief that we are alone.
Supervillains harbor a secret internal belief that they are not good enough. One example is Syndrome in The Incredibles. As a boy, Buddy Pine tries to help out his hero, Mr. Incredible. When he is rejected, Buddy decides to reinvent himself as the Supervillain Syndrome, and dedicates his life to showing he is more clever and powerful than Mr. Incredible.
According to Brené Brown, the way to kill shame is to speak about it, as shame cannot survive empathy. The Super Hero characters in The Incredibles also experience personal failures. However, when they open up with each other about their failings, they are able to recover and work together to accomplish their mission of saving the world.
One of our coaching clients observed, "When I stay in my head, I spiral downward. When I get out of my head and talk about it, I spiral upward."
Here's to being a superhero by listening, showing empathy, and preventing others from sliding down the slippery slope of supervillainy!