I’m been steadily unravelling here for the last two weeks. Who would have thought that good things happening – winning some money, GETTING A JOB – would unleash the ocean of emotion I’ve been drowning in ever since.
For the last week it has ebbed and and then hurtled back knocking me for absolute six over and over again. I am constantly anxious – the pit in the stomach, the clenching of the jaw, the hard set shoulders, the internal monologue of keep it together man. The spontaneous bursting into tears. OH MY GOD the tears.
I have also been deeply pre-menstrual which is a whole “hello fire, I’m petrol” kinda thing.
And while the keep it together mantra has been the clanging cymbal, there’s been a whole percussive set going on underneath:
you’re not worthy
who do you think you are
you can’t do that
you’re not good enough
As IF you’re going to be able to pull this off
Do you know how exhausting that is? I can not even imagine what it is to live with. Chef’s bed shark is not even circling, that creature has found some secluded cave and is just hiding out until the crazy lady calms the fuck down.
Today Grover refused to get dressed. I begged, I cajoled, I used parental tones and eventually I just sobbed. Yep. SOBBED.
This morning I sobbed at last night’s Dr Who episode on iView. I’ve sobbed all day today actually. Stupid big heaving sobs that come from nowhere.
Except it’s not nowhere, it’s the core of my being. It’s my pure and utter fear of being vulnerable.
I’d seen these following two Ted lectures doing the rounds on FB and Twitter but never paid much heed as I don’t have time to sit and watch whole talks for goodness sake.
And then, today a friend – a friend I haven’t seen in years although she lives a few suburbs away, we used to work together a lifetime ago – sent them to me. She said, ‘you put everything out there but don’t see how courageous that makes you.’ She said, ‘maybe you should watch the shame one first’. She’s a smart cookie.
So I’m going to say this and quit rolling your eyes. FIND the two lots of 20 minutes you’re going to need to watch these. FIND IT.
Key points that really resonated for me:
Vulnerability is not weakness.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation and change.
I didn’t learn about vulnerability and courage and creativity and innovation from studying vulnerability, I learnt it from studying shame.
Be in the arena.
Shame is the gremlin which says you’re not good enough and who do you think you are.
Shame is not guilt. Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behaviour. Shame is I am bad, guilt is I did something bad
Shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders
Guilt is inversely correlated with those things
Shame is do it all, do it perfectly and never let them see you sweat.
Shame for women is the swag of unobtainable, conflicting and competing expectations on who we are meant to be.
For men it’s about being weak.
Empathy is the antidote to shame
Secrecy, silence and judgement grow shame
The whole-hearted – those with a sense of worthiness, a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging.
A sense of courage (is not bravery) its original definition meant to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
The whole-hearted have the courage to be imperfect.
The whole-hearted have compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others. We can’t practice compassion with others if we don’t treat ourselves kindly.
Connection as a result of authenticity. They were willing let go of who they thought they should be for who they are.
They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. It’s not comfortable or excruciating, they just talked about it being necessary. About saying I love you first. To do something where there are no guarantees. To not control or predict.
Vulnerability is the core of shame, fear and struggle for worthiness but it’s also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love.
Our job as parents is to look at our kids and say you know what, you’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you’re worthy of love and belonging. That is our job.
Love with your whole heart even when there are no guarantees
I am enough.