Is self-promotion shameful?

Carmel Siler
2 min readFeb 13, 2021

The struggle to promote yourself is real. Understanding the emotional dynamics at play may help you overcome personal roadblocks and achieve your goals.

We’ve all heard the term “shameless self-promotion”. The term insinuates that self-promotion is inherently shameful, and for a good portion of us it can definitely feel that way. Author and researcher of shame Brené Brown offers this definition:

“Shame is an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

Ouch! But is shame the true emotion behind our fears of “putting ourselves out there”?

The truth is that the opposite of shameless self-promotion is not shameful self-promotion, it is actually promotion filled with empathy. Brown asserts that empathy and shame are on opposite ends of a continuum. The opposite of, and the antidote to shame, is empathy.

Empathy is most commonly known as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Empathy nourishes connection, something we all crave — especially in today’s world — your clients included. On the other end of the spectrum; shame results in fear, blame, and disconnection.

Empathy feels like a much safer emotion than shame, so why do we experience such discomfort…