Now or Never·EPISODE

How to fight back against shame and stigma

There is a lot to be gained by fighting back against feelings of shame. Meet people who are confronting stigma and seeing what's on the other side.
From left to right: Samantha Bitty, Rachel Phan and Debbie Reed. (National Speakers Bureau, Rachel Phan, Debbie Reed)

Full Episode Transcript

Few emotions are as difficult — and complicated — as shame and stigma. They're feelings that we keep to ourselves, and seldom share with even our closest friends and family. 

Shame expert Brené Brown has said shame is: "the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing you are flawed and unworthy of love and belonging." Yeah, who would want to talk about that?

But there is a lot to be gained by fighting back against feelings of shame. On this episode, you'll meet people who are confronting shame and stigma and seeing what's on the other side.

Growing up, Rachel Phan and her family primarily spoke Cantonese at home. But over the years they transitioned to English. Now, Rachel feels a sense of shame because she struggles to communicate with her parents in their first language. Hear how they're working through the language barrier and finding ways to express their love.

Loud and proud sex educator Samantha Bitty has come a long way from her grade three health class, where she and her peers were separated by gender. Listen in as she reveals how she bravely — and explicitly — confronts the many stigmas surrounding sex.

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Debbie Reed and Karen Krzyzewski have a deep bond that few share: they've both lost children to opiod overdose. They also share first-hand knowledge of the destructive impact that stigma can have on those struggling with drug use — which is why they've started a local chapter of Moms Stop The Harm, an organization dedicated to fighting against stigma.

As a child, Nicholas Raffoul didn't see any depictions of queer people falling in love... except in The Sims. When he'd make his two male Sims kiss, he'd feel a sense of curiosity and shame. Today, he realizes that the game opened him up to a new world of self-expression.

Carter Hemion recently wrote an article called I'm Proud of Being Disabled — but shame kept them from using their real name. Listen in Carter's intimate conversation with host Trevor Dineen about how they've come to accept and find pride in their disabilities.