Do You Ever Suffer From A Vulnerability Hangover?

DW_HeavyQuoteImages5Do you ever find yourself hiding out? You share or express a part of yourself and feel over exposed and want to duck out of sight.

In my line of work I experience this all the time. A client or a friend shares intimate parts of their life and then suddenly pulls back and hides.

Some people live in this perpetual state of incongruence and self-betrayal, flip flopping from one attempt to protect and project an image to another. Never settling into the comfort of their beautiful true-blue selves.

Why does this get triggered?

The reason is: Shame Triggers.

Shame is a powerful emotion and when it gets triggered we want to hide, rewind and protect.

We all experience this whether we recognize it or not. Shame is universal and we all have learned behaviors that attempt to protect us when we experience shame's messages of, "I'm not enough" or "I'm not lovable." It's these triggers that keep us from being real, authentic, and vulnerable.

Shame is what has taught us to adapt "good girl" or overly responsible behavior even when we're betraying ourselves at the core. It's taught us to strive for perfection, bully, alienate, perform and hide, just to name a few shame induced shields.

I never knew I had shame, but researcher Brenè Brown tells us in her body of work and best selling book, Daring Greatly, that we’ve all got it. It doesn’t have to come from a traumatic experience, although shame is experienced as trauma.

Shame robs us of what we really want

We were made for love and belonging and the only way we can experience the kind of connection we crave is through vulnerability, showing up, being seen and living bravely. Sometimes this is downright hard, because we're afraid if we show up we wont be accepted. But we must continue showing up, being seen, learning to ask for what we need, being authentic, vulnerable, courageous and circling back around when we blow it, if we want community, connection, and true relationship.

We won't ever do this perfectly. In fact, the desire to be perfect is shame driven in itself! Chew on that a while! The thing is we can always come back around and say, “You know what? That wasn’t what I wanted to say” or “That wasn’t really me.” “This is how I truly feel” or “I wasn’t really there for you, because I was afraid you’d judge me. Can we start again?”

Showing up and being seen doesn’t mean we just blab our deepest, darkest secrets with the stranger in the grocery store. It means we share ourselves with trusted sources. Trust is a two way street. It’s hard to build it from one side. It takes two people willing to show up, be authentic, empathetic, non-judgmental, and present. Where there is a lack of trust there is some sort of empathic failure and we all fail at empathetically walking in another's shoes. A willingness to show up, be seen authentically and truthfully is a great start on our part, but we can't make someone show up who doesn't want to.

I sure am tired of putting myself in places that are void of transparency, vulnerability and authenticity, but instead are filled with empty niceties that further facilitate confused messages and incongruence, aren’t you? That is why we need to understand shame, stop running from it and claim our true identity. Isn't it time to break the shame barrier in your life? Isn’t it time to dare greatly, show up, be seen and live bravely?

If you share the vision of being a woman who is known for authenticity, courage, transparency and love (beginning with the woman in the mirror) and you'd like to dare greatly and live whole heartedly, I invite you to participate in the upcoming Daring Way™ retreat. Make wholehearted living your priority. Hurry to register! Space is limited. Join us this September! Find information here!