Shame is the Lock – Vulnerability the Key

We exist in layers, and this makes understanding each other difficult, because often we only see one strata. If I were to ask you, the five defining stories of your life, what would they be? Maybe you would tell me about your family of origin, important traditions, meaningful relationships, and experiences that had a potent impact on your well-being. It seems our well-being has a lot to do with our connections. I was thinking about this when I realized my defining moments are tucked away in the layers so deep I can’t even access them. These are the aspects of myself I try to keep hidden. I’m like a film editor. I leave clips of the more heady details on the cutting room floor

This could be an alcoholic relative who ruined every holiday, an abusive neighbor, or a betrayal so painful recovery was impossible. These experiences change our way of being in the world. I think it is strange how we recreate painful experiences, bringing them into the present, like groundhoging our worst day. Trauma acts like a disease, distancing us from each other, and maybe this is why isolation is so destructive. I was intrigued so I went scavenging around for answers. I stumbled upon Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on the importance of vulnerability (linked below). “The ability to feel connected is why we are here,” says Brown. Brown explains that shame is the fear of disconnection, if I tell you who I really am, will I still be worthy of your love? She was shocked to discover the importance of vulnerability in how we connect with others in a meaningful way.  People who are well connected (I don’t mean financially) usually have a strong sense of self, they live authentically, and they are comfortable with vulnerability.

She explained how we try to numb our vulnerability with all sorts of addictions, it could be alcohol, shopping, work, food…it doesn’t matter the source; it only matters how well it suppresses emotion.  Brown says the problem with this approach is we numb the good emotions along with the bad. We need to befriend our vulnerability. Hiding out in the layers is not a good plan. The path to happiness is being vulnerable with others and allowing our true selves to connect on a deep and satisfying level. Okay, I was a bed-wetter, now will you please connect with me on Facebook. 

Check out Brene Brown’s Ted Talk – Outstanding!

Share a little vulnerability in the comments! We’ll connect!

If you enjoyed this posting you might also enjoy:  We May Never Pass this way Again


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