“Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It is tough to do that when we are terrified about what people might see or think.” Brene Brown
Shame is an emotion that is experienced by everyone having a wide-ranging impact on your mental health. The experience of shame comes from so many things, such as, appearance and body image, sexuality, family, motherhood, parenting, inability to have a child, education, professional identity, mental and physical health, aging, religion, or surviving trauma. Shame can cause you to feel trapped and powerless, leading to social withdrawal, isolation, and self-destruction.
Brené Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” At the core of shame is worry about what others think. Women take shame to another level. You do everything perfectly never letting them see you upset. Be gentle with yourself and the men in your circles creating a safe environment to be vulnerable to share shame in a safe space.
Shame is an epidemic in every culture. It grows from secrecy, silence, and judgment. Shame impacts how you parent, work, and how you look at yourself and other people. You can overcome shame by becoming vulnerable through empathy for yourself and others. Vulnerability refers to “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of attack or harm, either physically or emotionally.” It is the bridge you must build and cross to have better connections. One of the best ways to create a bond, attract others, and make people connect to you is by being vulnerable about who you are, what you want, and your intention to build a genuine relationship. You must be willing to receive any kind of outcome and hear feedback from another side, whether it is positive or negative. Being vulnerable is not easy because of:
· Judgment from others
· Worry that your vulnerability will be used against you
· Inability to trust
· Past traumatic experiences
There is risk to being vulnerable, but it is the only way to know who cares about you and accepts you for who you are. It is your bridge to have better connections. Being vulnerable is the core, the center, and the heart of your human experience. Vulnerability and being open to shame are your strengths. Even though it can be uncomfortable, being vulnerable can birth love, joy, authenticity, and creativity in your life. You can let your guard down and be seen for who you truly are. Embrace it knowing that it will make life fuller. You are vulnerable to shame when you say I love you, try something new, or share a difficult experience or struggle. You will miss your reward when you choose to avoid these situations. Global cultures traditionally resist and fear emotions with negative views toward those who express their vulnerabilities as “being weak” or “too sensitive.” That is a lie.
To cope with shame, you must:
· Understand Shame versus Guilt: With guilt, there is a reason attached to it, “I did something bad.” Shame is an internal feeling of unworthiness “I am bad.” even when there is no explanation to justify your shame.
· Be Kind to Yourself: Be aware of your self-talk.
· Know Your Self-Worth: Who you are, and your values is more important than what you do.
· Talk It Out: Acknowledge your shame and be open to being vulnerable to talk about it to those you trust. Their show of empathy can go a long way to put your shame into perspective. Brené points out that the less you talk about shame, the more power it has over your life.
· Reach Out to Others: Shame is a fear of disconnection. Connecting with others helps you feel less shameful and alone.
Emotions play a significant role in every aspect of life. They compel you to act and influence the decisions you make. Emotions help you to survive and avoid danger, understand yourself and others better and to help others understand you better. Attending to your emotions can make you much stronger and resilient. But you are still prone to judging them or not giving them the attention, they need. Lori Gottlieb says, “Do not judge your feelings; notice them. Use them as your map. Do not be afraid of the truth.” When you avoid or minimize your feelings, you tune out important clues about who you are and what you may need limiting your capacity for self-understanding. You can work on finding healthy ways to deal with uncomfortable emotions. By normalizing, confronting, processing, and becoming vulnerable to difficult emotions like shame, you will emerge unapologetically resilient.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” Brene Brown