I’m Mr. TMI (too much information). It’s my defense mechanism. You see shame loses its power when you speak about something that might be embarrassing. The cat’s out of the bag. I’ve never been very popular and often growing up in public school I was ridiculed for various things: my faith, my hobbies, my idiosyncrasies, my love of music (I wasn’t a jock). So I over shared and over – informed so that I could reduce the fact that someone else would shine light on my ‘weirdness.’ I’ll just put it out there in the open.
All that to say when my friend Dave O’Hara told me about the book Daring Greatly the topic resonated with me. Vulnerability is a powerful tool for intimacy between people, but shame keeps us from committing to true vulberability. It turns out people use one of (at least) two techniques to handle the shame issue, both of which may hinder intimacy through vulnerability. One way is to over shared (like me), the other way is to strive for perfection. Perfection has no shame – except that no one is truly perfect and no one is going to escape from the shame of their eventual imperfection.
I’m learning a lot about vulnerability and shame as I read the book, but I’m finding that I am guessing the next chapter or point because the implications of these topics in the research is very, very real to me.
I want to be vulnerable and intimate with others, but I need to do that in a healthy way. I want to put shame away in my relationships. I want to rise up to the challenge of healthy intimacy. It’s a great place to be at nearly 38. I haven’t been here before.
Where are you growing?