Vulnerability Hangovers: The real deal
Have you ever found yourself feeling raw, exposed, or especially tired the day after sharing something personal with someone? Maybe you think to yourself, 'Why on earth did I say that?!' and you find yourself questioning every detail shared. You double back on all your actions and want to crawl into a hole, despite maybe having felt courageous and emboldened at the time you were sharing or being vulnerable. This is a vulnerability hangover.
It is important to realize that a vulnerability hangover does not mean that you've done something wrong. Rather, it's a sign of real courage. Of getting into the arena and braving being seen. Of being courageous enough to expose yourself enough to an experience that may bring purpose and meaning into your life. That's a good thing!
Vulnerability hangovers can also be brought on by what I term a shame attack. Brene Brown defines shame as "the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging". She reminds us that shame is universal. We all struggle with it, and yet we are all afraid to talk about it and its presence in our lives. The less we talk about it, the more control it has.
Coping with a vulnerability hangover: Emotional First Aid
Whether you are feeling shame or simply raw, it is important to nurture your self. As you show up for yourself in this way, you create a self-trust that builds resilience. Addiction recovery circles will suggest a model of reaching up (higher power), reaching in (journaling), and reaching out (support network or other safe individuals). This is particularly valuable if you find that shame is being brought to the surface. It can be helpful to ask yourself what script you are hearing in your mind, or what story you are telling yourself about the given situation.
Emotional First Aid Kits are another valuable resource for coping with vulnerability hangovers. Stay tuned for another post on these kits, what to include in them, and how to utilize them.
If you find yourself dealing with a vulnerability hangover today, spend some extra time doing self-care. This is different from numbing in that you are intentional in your actions and motivations. Show up for your self. Hopefully self-care is a regular part of your life. If that is the case, double up on the time you spend on self-care during the times that you feel especially vulnerable.