There’s a little-known side-effect to sharing your story that not a lot of people talk about — so let’s talk about it!
For a lot of people, the idea of having other people look at them, hear them, and observe them is truly unnerving. Think back to your school years, and the courage it took sometimes to raise your hand in class and answer a question. All of the other students in the classroom would turn and look at you while you spoke.
Or, if you ever had to get up in front of the classroom to make a presentation — the nerves you likely felt, by having so many people look at you, hear you, and witness you.
As we grow up, that stuff doesn’t necessarily go away — it just manifests into a whole different fear and feeling. I call it the Vulnerability Hangover.
Part of learning how to share your story is learning how to deal with the aftermath of feelings — feeling naked and exposed, feeling raw and tender. When you first get up the courage to share your story, be aware that these subconscious feelings can often rob you of the joy in your accomplishment.
Instead of being proud of yourself, you feel ridiculous, embarrassed, and ashamed — this is especially true for women who’ve drummed up the courage to share pieces of their story that aren’t so pretty.
I believe as women, we’ve been conditioned to believe we must always present our best— be perfect, be on guard, be happy, be all put together — when the reality is, most of us are walking around with shame, guilt, anger, disappointment, regrets.
When we open up and share these truths — we immediately feel society shaking her 'no-no-no' finger at us….. and then the Vulnerability Hangover sets in. Like waking up the next morning after a few too many drinks at last night’s party — you immediately regret the decision to be so honest, to share so truthfully, to present the real you.
But here’s the thing — and I really want you to hear this if any of what I’m talking about is hitting you in the gut right now — You are not alone. Other women just like you are walking around with all of those same feelings — and honestly, its the thing that keeps too many women silent.
When you share your story openly and truthfully — others who witness and hear it only see the courage, strength, and beauty in your experience. Even the ugly parts that tend to carry the shame and guilt — can be THE THING that connects you the most deeply to others — because they too have experienced something similar and they are just so grateful to hear someone else speak of these feelings and know that THEY are not alone.
This is why I love working with women so much — because once you push past the fear and learn to openly share you story, community and connections are created in the most unexpected ways. …. and this bonds us together as women — rather than continuing to tear each other down as Society would like us to do, we learn to put our arms around one another and hug each other with love, appreciation, and support.
The good news is the Vulnerability Hangover doesn’t last long …. because you quickly discover how sharing your story impacted someone else in a positive way. You’ll soon learn that using your voice can be so liberating.
When you push past the fear and decide to show up for yourself, you show other women in the process it’s okay to do so.
I want to encourage you today — because I know there’s a story lurking inside of you that’s nudging you to get out. Don’t let the Vulnerability Hangover derail you — stick with the process and know that your story matters, and it’s perfectly okay to speak your truth.