We’ve all been there. We shared from the depths of our souls. Our fears. Our worries. Our hopes. Our dreams.
In the sharing, we were effusive, euphoric, unbridled, and even - dare I say it? - emotional. Because, I mean, it felt so good in that moment.
Walking around with your guard up all the time is exhausting.
So letting your guard down and letting loose felt so… right.
Both reckless and safe at the same time.
So you shared one more thing.
And then you felt the surge of heat in your cheeks. The room started to spin and you had to make a hasty retreat from the conversation. Or worse... you leave feeling euphoric, only to wake up in a puddle of your insecurities the next day.
"Oh hell! Why did I share that?” “What was I thinking?” And, worse, “What must THEY be thinking now about ME?”
You think you said too much.
You think you were too much.
You, my friend, are eyeballs deep into what has been called the “vulnerability hangover.”
[term coined by the Queen Bee of Vulnerability, Dr. Brené Brown]
Dude. Totally been there.
As a chronic hugger of strangers, the first one to say I love you, an over-sharer by nature and a woman living inside a desire to live so fully that most of her filters have been removed, I get it.
Brown posits that if you don’t feel any vulnerability hangover, then maybe you didn’t go far enough.
If we’re going to use vulnerability hangovers as a metric of courage, here’s a super quick survival guide.
First of all, you will survive this.
You will absolutely survive this. Anyone who has stepped out and risked sharing what was true has experienced this and (you guessed it) survived.
Simple. Just hydrate. No tricks. Just drink water.
(You aren’t drinking enough, you know)
As in, fire compassion beams on yourself. Be kind. Be gentle.
You shared because you had a full tank of thoughts and feelings and sadness and joy and despair and whatever else you had and were looking to connect with someone. Maybe with several someones. You needed that. We all need that. So beating yourself up is no good.
Find the same compassion for yourself that you would give a sweet little girl who told her crush that his eyes were nice and now feels awash in shame for her confession.
Recognize that the impulse beneath the sharing was connection (it was, trust me). Where else can you get this need met in a way that will not send you to bed dizzy and wanting to hide because you are flushed with hot panic? What’s another way forward? Who can you surround yourself with?
Because what I worry about is this: if you endure one too many vulnerability hangovers, you just may stop showing up.
And, honey? We cannot have that.
Listen. We are living in a messed up time.
People walking around believing that guns are keeping people safe.
There is actually a NEED to have hashtags like #blacklivesmatter (this brings tears to my eyes).
The unbelievably messed up legacy of residential schools in Canada (so does this).
Politicians politicizing climate change. Reality TV asshats who believe that walls are the answer.
Social media filled with snark at best and hatred and vitriol at worst.
Children afraid of their pillows because they think they are the cause of the raids upon their hometown.
It is time to say what needs to be said. Now more than ever.
I’m scared. I know you are too.
Please don’t apologize for feeling the depths of your experience.
Don’t apologize for expressing the depths of your experience.
And don’t stop sharing what needs to be shared.
I repeat: we’ve got work to do.
*A note about coaching. With ANYONE.
I’m always amazed when a new client apologizes for being emotional in a session. Worrying about what I’ll think. It’s an epidemic - worrying about how we’ll react to each other.
People… I’m a professional.
THIS is what I do. This is what ALL coaches do. All that deep-listening and ideation and strategy and compassion are God-given gifts that I nurture and tend to. No doubt. SELF-MANAGEMENT is the skill I paid tens of thousands of dollars for and spent thousands of hours mastering.
So bring it. Bring the mess. Bring the tears. Bring what you think is a shit show.
I’ve got it all. I’ve got you. That’s my job. That’s ALL coaches' jobs.
We’ll find your way forward. Because we are going to need your voice, at top level. We’re going to need your arms, your heart, your soul and all that you have got if we’re going to turn this thing around.
With love and raised fist,