Why are we ashamed to talk about shame and be vulnerable?

I’ve taken the rest of the week off to attempt to get better, so please forgive me if the next few days’ worth of posts are rather short.  I’m spending most of my time sleeping.  And debating wearing pajama pants to my PT massage.

In any case, while the below video is just over 20 minutes long, it is so well worth your time.  Brene Brown is a shame researcher, and has a lot to say on the power of vulnerability, and also why not being vulnerable is causing so many problems today.

Being sick really brings this to mind.  When I am sick, I feel ashamed that I am unable to give 100%.  I feel guilty for not going to work.  I think that people are going to think I’m a slacker or just making things up and making them do my job. I feel ashamed that while I’m 40 years old, I still want my mom to come make me chicken soup*. I feel lazy and a slob because the dishes pile up as the last thing I want to do is do the damned dishes, and I’m ashamed of that.

And I don’t want to tell you all that. I don’t want to tell you that I feel bad and would rather tell my sorrows to my friends Ben and Jerry and hide from that whole vulnerable feeling.  We’re not supposed to be vulnerable – I’m not supposed to be vulnerable.  I’m supposed to be responsible and independent and amazing and perfect.   When I get sick, it’s like getting smacked with a big ol’ two by four of reality, and I hate it.

And so, I rewatch this video, or read some in her books, and remind myself that this is all okay. We are allowed to be vulnerable.  Vulnerability makes us better people.  It makes us more empathetic and actually better able to cope, and when I feel the feelings, I don’t spend so much time with things that make me feel good in the short term, but like crap in the long term.

So, this morning, I slept in, and then did the dishes.  I also made some chicken soup, and did a little bit of laundry.  And I told myself that it was okay that I’m sick.  And then I took a nap, or three.

*I did actually make myself chicken soup today, but while it turned out okay, it didn’t turn out as well as my mom’s does. Isn’t that always the case?

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