Recently I have been working in a residence that requires you to do sleepovers. Although many employees enjoy doing sleepovers because in reality you get paid for doing approximately 18 hours of work even though for 9 hours you’re meant to be asleep. I on the other hand struggle with this.
For me, being in someone else’s space or environment can leave me feeling rather vulnerable. For the last 13 years I have not stayed the night anywhere apart from at these work related sleepovers. Yes, you read that correctly. Since I was 9 years old to be exact.
Brené Brown discusses her study and research into the concepts of vulnerability and shame and when we analyse these further they can be notably interconnected. The thing with vulnerability is most of us walk around avoiding or attempting to avoid being vulnerable. However Brown argues that, after further critique of these concepts, that actually we are avoiding being vulnerable to shame and our own versions of shame.
So when I reflected on my fear or avoidance around the vulnerability that lies with staying the night in someone else’s space, it was the shame of the past that I was actually avoiding and have been for 13 years.
What vulnerabilities or the vulnerabilities intrinsically interwoven with shame are you avoiding?
What can we do about them?
Do we actually want to do anything about them?
For about the same extended period of time that I have felt these vulnerabilities surrounding staying in someone else’s space, I had been avoiding publicly humiliating myself. For example; I have a genuinely ridiculous fear of being in front of people like in the context of public speaking (even if it is only 5 people).Over the past two years I have been thrown into having to act on stage, and engage in publicly discussing a piece of research that I had published into a report.
A little different to staying over in someone else’s environment I know, but all the same being vulnerable to another or 150 people to be exact. I guess the thing that has been the lifesaver in all of this has been the incredibly supportive nature of the people that have stood by me or relied on me to stand up with them and project whatever message it is.
So, my love of lists… what can we do about vulnerabilities and shame?
1. Do what your avoiding. Do it over and over and over again until you feel a little less uncomfortable about it.
2. Feedback from people (Within contexts like public speaking). Get people to honestly tell you how you did. But let them know your vulnerabilities and shame so they know to supportively critique your performance.
3. Surround yourself with supportive people when delving into insecurities, vulnerabilities, and shame. For me, some of my vulnerability and shame stems from childhood trauma, and I’m sure such is the case for many others. Having supportive people in your life can make things easier especially when they know what’s going on for you and how they can support you for things to go a little smoother.
4. Honesty. Following on from above, you can have incredibly supportive people around you but they may not know how, what or why they need to support you. Being honest with people can be terrifying but it can also be uplifting and positive especially in times of vulnerability.
Po marie e hoa ma. Have a good night to whoever is reading this, I am trying to keep at this thing. Even if no one reads it, it is nice to have a platform to look back on.