I’m sensitive and like to play by the rules, so taking risks is not really in my programming. I could do it if I’m around someone who believes in me and is helping me, but otherwise, I’ve survived by staying within my narrow window of what I believed I was capable of so that I wouldn’t make mistakes or make a fool of myself. If I by chance did either of these things, I had to have a member of my posse nearby to reassure me that it wasn’t that bad, even if that wasn’t the case, even if what I did completely sucked, I used to need someone to lie to me. This basically meant I couldn’t grow, expand or ever find my power.
Then, who I believed I was and the life I wanted to create were miles apart. So I started to take more risks and I had to change. My inner voice has started to transform from “You suck, you can’t do this” to “so it was a mistake, how can I use this to grow?” I am doing this by noticing my personal relationship between vulnerability and shame. Every time I practice vulnerability, I am hit within hours, sometimes minutes, by a dark energy, by shame. It’s like an energetic hangover! It took me a while to create enough distance from the energetic hangover to respond to it differently. For so long I’d poke a toe outside of my comfort zone and feel the shame and scurry back into my comfort zone. Noticing that I can respond differently to shame and the vulnerability hangover has been life changing. I still very often experience it, but I’ve learned to not allow it to control me by using mindfulness and other regulating techniques. Now, sometimes just noticing is enough for me to shift. Often, I have to tell the shame to back off and protect and love my imperfect self.
My guess is that this is a human experience. If this happens to you start to notice:
- Situations that trigger the energetic hangover for you
- Thoughts that are associated with that state
- And physical sensations that are associated that state
Then, try making a list of ways to regulate through shame
- Notice that it’s not your inner voice
- Set the intention to not let shame be in charge
- Try some physical activity to feel positive sensations in your body
- Write a letter to yourself and talk to you like you would talk to your best friend or your child
- Ask yourself if there’s anything you need to learn
- Forgive yourself for mistakes and practice self-love
- Ask for help!