Have you ever felt that someone wasn’t quite telling you the whole truth? Maybe it was a spouse, a friend, or your employer. Did this affect how you saw that person? All of us are guilty of bending the truth a little here and there. But what does it mean, and what impact does it have on you, when this becomes a regular occurrence, when it becomes how you live your life?
In her research on vulnerability, shame and guilt, Dr. Brene Brown has discovered and spoken on the importance of letting yourself be seen. By this she means, being vulnerable with others. Sharing your “whole heart” with those you come in contact with and courageously being your authentic self, even when everything is telling you just to fit in. Now you may be thinking, this is ridiculous. What the (insert crude word) does this have to do with me. I work in a tough environment as a _________ and if I were to be vulnerable it would be the end of me. While it may be true that sharing some of your deepest darkest secrets with your coworkers or boss may come as a shock to them, and may even become a source of ridicule and taunting by those not courageous enough to do it themselves, I can assure you that by doing this you will begin to feel as good as you ever have.
Why is that? Well Dr. Brown points out in her popular TED Talk on Vulnerability that when we hide things and neglect to be vulnerable with those around us it indicates to ourselves that we do not feel worthy. Worthy of love, worthy of acceptance, and worthy of belonging. Is that you? Have you ever considered your Netflix binging, or junk food munching, or alcohol or drug “problem that isn’t really a problem” to be a way for you to numb the pain of not belonging? Maybe you just thought, well that’s something that I’ve been working on for a while and I’ll get over it at some point. And so you wait for the next New Year’s to roll around so you can sign up for the gym and finally change your life or you wait until the next Monday or the 1st of the next month. How many more of those is it going to take? The answer is, unless you can learn to be vulnerable and be real with yourself, and with others, this could be the rest of your life.
The thing is, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs and videos, is that this is all connected. When we keep things secret and don’t engage others with our deepest hurts we start to think of ourselves as unworthy. When that happens we try and cope with whatever numbs the pain for us. And when we get into that we start to feel ashamed of the very fact that we have to cope in the first place, which causes us to feel unworthy and starts the cycle all over again.
For me this has been all to real. It started as an adolescent when I was exposed to pornography for the first time. Growing up in a religious household it was something that many of us young men wouldn’t dare talk about. As was the case, it became something that I was ashamed of and unwilling to talk about with anyone. With each passing year I would tell myself that I would stop. Surely when I got married it would end, I foolishly said to myself. The thing is, with this addiction (which Brene points out is highly correlated to feelings of shame and unworthiness) I began to lose control over other areas of my life. I would have a few too many drinks here and there and I could never be as productive as I would have liked. I would be easily distracted and prone to long bouts of sadness and just overall lack of joy. In the last few years I have been able to find help. To find a group of people that could support me and help to get me on the path of healing. It has not been easy but it has been extremely fulfilling and life giving.
Friends, when you are able to open up to others it builds trust. It gives you confidence to be yourself which is passed on to all those you meet. Confidence and authenticity can be felt. You know this. So I want to encourage you as you go about this week. Find ways to share your story. Be open and honest about who you are. Play the music you like when driving with your friends. Speak your mind. Wear what you think looks good. Share something that has been on your mind but you’ve been too nervous to say. Be open with your boss and/or your employee. As you do, you will see walls coming down and notice a lightness about all your interactions. You won’t have to worry if someone else knows something about you or what they actually think of you. You can go about your life with confidence, and a feeling of worthiness, knowing that you are loved for who you are. The unique individual you were created to be.
I hope you have found this encouraging and inspiring. At OnBoard Coaching, our mission is to help you create ultimate fulfillment and achievement in your personal lives and businesses. If this is something you think you or your business could use help with contact us today! Do it! Don’t wait. A life and business full of authentic connection is just around the corner.
Brad Thiessen OnBoard Coaching
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