Fake smiles and empty pleasantries underwrite the shallow atmosphere of family Christmas parties and workplace holiday functions. Behind the thin veil of “everything is perfect and I am happy!” is a familiar and lingering sensation. It’s cold and close, subtle yet overwhelming. It is shame in every form, every manifestation you can fathom. It wants you to feel alone in your quiet war for happiness and safety. Minute after minute self-loathing thoughts are competing against a sincere desire to look healthy, calm and successful. This endless cycle goes on for a lifetime and eats away at human souls leaving empty husks who are confused and at a loss. There is a solution to this struggle. A tool to dismantle our walls of shame and transmute them into bridges of connection. A path out of the lonely caverns of self-hatred on to the warm plains of self-love and healing. It’s vulnerability. The thought of sharing our deepest struggles with another human is uncomfortable for most and outright horrifying for many. However that critical component of shame, the “ I am alone in this and no one will understand” rhetoric, is immediately vaporized when we make the courageous choice to share our true feelings and thoughts with another human we trust.
This news is a relief to many, but in practice, we tend to emotionally puke on whoever is closest to us physically and call it vulnerability. This is not healthy vulnerability. It is grabbing for emotional validation and it’s inconsiderate to ourselves and the other human involved. For vulnerability to become the knife that cuts through shame it needs to be practiced in a safe space. We must make sure whoever we share our deepest struggles with has earned the right to hear our story and won't be damaged by hearing it. Being honest and connecting with others are always great things. It's important we value our healing enough to find the right people to talk to about our shame, people who understand the power of vulnerability and will support and reciprocate our honesty. The holiday season is a maelstrom of conflict and a seething cauldron of shame triggers. Let's all find a trustworthy human to get vulnerable with and transmute shame into healing. Happy Holidays!