Courtesy of the wonderful Maren!
Chapter 4 ~ The Vulnerability Armory
Brene summarizes this chapter beautifully in the introduction, I read this to my yoga class this week and then posed a question. I will do the same for you here….
“As children we found ways to protect ourselves from vulnerability, from being hurt, diminished, and disappointed. We put on armor; we used our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as weapons; and we learned how to make ourselves scarce, even to disappear. Now as adults we realize that to live with courage, purpose, and connection-to be the person whom we long to be-we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen.”
According to Brene we use 3 types of shielding ourselves from being vulnerable
#1 ~ Foreboding Joy aka the paradoxical dread that clamps down on momentary joy
#2 ~ Perfectionism believing that doing everything perfectly will keep you free from feeling shame
#3 ~ Numbing using something to deaden the pain of being vulnerable
I am definitely guilty of #2. I felt that if I portrayed myself as perfect that no one could find fault with me and I would be praised for being little miss perfect. That is where I thought my self worth came from, but years of living in a state of perfection and not in true alignment with who I was but actually in alignment of others praise of who they thought I was became exhausting. Denying my authentic self led to depression and major shame parties inside myself. Interestingly enough I did a lot of work to drop the perfect, false Maren and bring out the messy but imperfectly perfect me. When that happened I still fought that old coping mechanism of perfectionism, it was in my cells and easy to fall back into. That internal fight of letting the true me out and letting go of little Miss perfect was a painful battle and at times I shifted into Brene’s #3 form of armor….Numbing. I would use food, tv, mindless hours on social media to block out those feelings of vulnerability, of the work to reveal my true self, to just plain numb myself out and not feel the growing pains. However because of the work I had done on myself I had an awareness and although I do sometimes still use those escapes, I am fully aware of when I do it. In those moments I always have a choice…is this activity bringing me in alignment with my true self and happiness or is it a shield against myself that keeps me small and unhappy?
Which shield do you use? Let’s talk about it, post us your comments and let’s celebrate the power of vulnerability and remove the armor!!