As I write today, I have what Brene Brown calls a “vulnerability hangover”. It isn’t painful so much as a little tinge of queasiness in my tummy when I think of my post from yesterday (last week for you guys). Because of my research, training and avid reading, I choose to allow myself to express raw emotion, both verbally and in writing. If you read my blog last week, then you had a front row seat to said raw emotion and I credit Brene Brown’s book: Daring Greatly in helping me be ok with expressing myself. Her philosophy has been a huge inspiration to me, and is one of the reasons I allowed myself to be so open and real last week.
If you missed last week’s blog post, you can link to it here.
How did my post make you feel?
Were you embarrassed for me? Did you forward it to a friend, saying, “I can’t believe she did this?” You may have been brought up in a home where sharing emotions was really frowned upon and maybe not even allowed. This may have led to an adulthood of not feeling comfortable expressing your feelings, and seeing someone do it in such an upfront manner may have made you cringe. Did that happen to you as you read and absorbed my words last week? Or did you secretly and silently cheer me on, wishing that you knew how to do the same thing and finally “be heard”?
Alternately, you may have been thinking: “Thank goodness it isn’t just me.” This is called the power of “me too”, and is crucial for us as women to help each other get through real emotion. Speaking to each other and knowing that we are not struggling alone truly does help us in sorting things out and in turn, we feel so much less isolated.
Maybe you were jumping out of your chair and grabbing your pompoms, cheering me on with a big “You go girl!” or “Awesome! Way to be your authentic self, Lorna!”, running alongside of me as I shared my emotions and feelings. This type of reaction comes from someone who understands vulnerability, from someone who lives life by keeping it real and was understanding of the expression in my post. If you’re this person, you may have seen my post and felt a connection to someone else ~ someone you’re working it out with in real life. When you have committed to a life of vulnerability, it is wonderful to find kindred souls.
The one thing I regret about my actions last week is this: I posted in anger. I posted before I had taken time to work through what was really going on within myself. It was me, desiring validation, and perhaps wanting someone to say, “You’re a good person and this should not have happened to you.” Sharing too soon can be dangerous both to my friendship and to my ability to be vulnerable. When we over share, it can be awkward for others and detrimental to us really being able to share our thoughts and feelings once we fully understand them. Ideally, I would have waited one more day to work through my stuff and then posted the whole experience in retrospect. I didn’t do that, but…this is life and I said what I said, and did what I did. I own it. I learned from it. I have moved on.
I’m sure you’re wondering how things unfolded with my sweet friend and what actually occurred after my verbal outburst. I should preface this with a fact: my friend was privy to the vulnerable emotion and written words prior to them ever landing on my blog page. We had already begun sorting out our emotions and working towards an honest repair to this blip in our friendship before the blog post went live.
I realized that first and foremost, I needed to figure out why I was so angry. What was it in me that made for such a violent reaction? When I went back to Daring Greatly (Brene Brown’s book I mentioned earlier), I read that anger is a secondary emotion. HURT was the underlying emotion that I really needed to get in touch with in order to process and move forward.
In reflecting back, I realized that I equate “people doing things for me” as validation…validation that I am enough, I am worthy, I am loved. This may be because I often express my love for others in “doing”, whether it is by cooking and feeding them, buying a nice gift, helping in whatever way that I can…this is my love language and expression. When that is not reciprocated, it causes me to immediately feel small; lonely; unloved. My hurt feelings are then expressed in anger, which seems so much easier than communicating the hurt and being completely transparent about what is happening within me.
I know that I am worthy. I know that I am enough. And, I know that I am loved. I have worked on these very things for years and now I help my clients do the same. I know these things in the core of my being. When I realized what the basis of my reaction was, it made it so easy to stop and ground myself. My friend who let me down doesn’t have anything to do with who I am as a person. The two are not connected and guess what? I was, and am, good again.
I had the full conversation with my friend about what had happened. I talked about my reaction easily and took my part of the blame in the situation. I was able to hear her words, leading me to understand what was going on in her life that made it so that she hadn’t been able to do the thing she had promised. We were good again and our friendship feels even deeper now that we have disappointed, discovered and grown alongside of one another.
That queasy feeling about my raw and “in your face” display of anger from last week ~ I am glad that it happened. I have been reminded that this process is never over and that there are still things that are capable of triggering old patterns of unworthiness. I felt it, I figured out where it was coming from, and I was able to heal myself and my relationship with my friend. All good stuff.
Think about what this brought up for YOU.
Do you believe in yourself? Do you need help regaining control of your beautiful life? If so, ask me how.
Please share your thoughts and comments below.