Vulnerability, Courage, & Shame: Why do we struggle with vulnerability?

Editor’s note: Part 4 of the series Vulnerability, Courage, & Shame

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change,” said Dr. Brene Brown on her Ted Talk: Power of Vulnerability. “To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that.”

If vulnerability is SO innovating, why is being vulnerable so difficult for the majority of us?  This is the question I want to end on in this series on the Power of Vulnerability because it comes back full circle to the mission and vision of Offbeat Expressions (#operationNOshame).

Dr. Brown discussed that we struggle with vulnerability because we numb ourselves from it. Daily. Since we can’t selectively numb our emotions, we numb everything (including the good feels like gratitude and happiness).

How many of us self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, or sex? We choose the coping techniques that comfort us in the moment or the ones that give us the immediate fix of NUMBness. I started this website with the intent of providing some creative, cheap, healthy, and productive ways to cope with the shit of everyday life.

Writing prompts and making playlists won’t necessarily save you. But keeping a journal and having a routine of creative self-care and mindfulness can help with the numbing withdrawal. Experiment with vulnerability. Innovate.  Be your authentic selves.

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Memoir Prompt for June

autonomy of trust

Memoirs do not document your life. The purpose of a memoir is to relay a PART of your life. The memoir is a story of themed events that got you to a specific time and place in your life. Try your hand at writing a 2-6 page memoir about a friendship and trust (or distrust). #opnoshamememoir

Shed the shame with therapeutic writing! Each prompt is carefully chosen to go along with the monthly blog post that is published on the first Monday of each month. Memoir prompts are published on the first Saturday of the month.

6-Word Story Prompts for June

autonomy of trust

Write a 6-word story about friendship.

This sudden fiction/nonfiction is a writing practice and therapeutic technique that challenges people to write an entire novel/memoir in 6 words. #opnoshame6wordstory

Shed the shame with therapeutic writing! Each prompt is carefully chosen to go along with the monthly blog post that is published on the first Monday of each month.  The 6-word story prompts will be published on the first Friday of the month.

Flash Fiction Prompts for June

autonomy of trust

Write a 500-1000 words fiction story where YOU (the character) tell one of your friends the truth of your story. How do they respond? How do you respond to their reaction?

#opnoshameflashfic

Shed the shame with therapeutic writing! Each prompt is carefully chosen to go along with the monthly blog post that is published on the first Monday of each month. Flash fiction prompts will be published on the first Thursday of the month.

Letter Prompts for June

autonomy of trust

Write a letter to a friend you wish you could share your story in its entirety with. Address in the letter why you don’t feel comfortable revealing your authentic self and why it would be important for you to do so.

#opnoshameletters

Shed the shame with therapeutic writing! Each prompt is carefully chosen to go along with the monthly blog post that is published on the first Monday of each month. Letter prompts will be published on the first Wednesday of the month.

Poetry Prompts for June

autonomy of trust

Write a poem revolving around the terms “trust” and “secrets.”

#opnoshamepoetry

Find different forms of writing poetry HERE.

Shed the shame with therapeutic writing! Each prompt is carefully chosen to go along with the monthly blog post that is published on the first Monday of each month. Poetry prompts will be published on the first Tuesday of the month.

Essay/Narratives Prompts for June

Autonomy of trust

  1. Have you ever told a friend your entire story?
  2. How many friends would you now consider sharing your story in its entirety?
  3. Why would you choose to tell your truth to that friend?  Would you?
  4. What elements would you leave out?  Why?

Shed the shame with therapeutic writing! Each prompt is carefully chosen to go along with the monthly blog post that is published on the first Monday of each month. Essay/Narrative prompts will be published on the first Monday of the month.

Understanding the Anatomy of Trust

I want you to think about your most shameful memory you hold and protect.  Have you ever told a friend about that memory? How many friends (now) could you tell that story to in its entirety?  Why would you choose to tell your truth to that friend?  Would you?  What elements would you leave out?  Why?

“Trust can be built in the smallest of moments…and there is the opportunity to build trust and there is the opportunity to betray.” – John Gottman, relationship researcher of more than 30 years

What about other incidents of shame that were less traumatic?  Do you trust your friends to keep those incidents to themselves?  Do you trust your friends with your secrets? Name those friends.  Do you have friends you distrust with that information?  Why do they deserve the title of friend?

Trust is choosing to make something important to you VULNERABLE to the actions of someone else.

Distrust is choosing not to share what is important to you because it is not safe with someone else.

Dr. Brene Brown outlined the autonomy of trust with the acronym B-R-A-V-I-N-G “because when we TRUST we are braving,” she said in her Anatomy of Trust presentation.

Boundaries

I trust you (a) if you are clear and hold to your boundaries and (b) you understand my boundaries and respect them.

Reliability

I can only trust you if you do what you say you are going to do.  Be clear on any limitations so you do not disappoint if you can’t deliver.

Accountability

I can only trust you if when you make a mistake you are willing to (a) own it, (b) apologize for it, and (c) make amends. I can only trust you if when I make a mistake I am allowed to (a) own it, (b) apologize for it, and (c) make amends.

Volt

What I share with you, you will hold in confidence. What you share with me, I will hold in confidence. Confidentiality needs to be acknowledged full circle because if you tell me something that IS NOT YOURS TO SHARE, then my trust for you is diminished. Even though you haven’t shared my secret, you have shared someone’s secret.

Integrity

  • Choosing courage over comfort.
  • Choosing what’s right over fun.
  • Choosing what’s right over what’s fast.
  • Choosing what’s right over what’s easy.
  • Practicing your values not just professing your values.

Nonjudgement

I can fall apart, ask for help, and be in struggle without being judged by you. You can fall apart, ask for help, and be in struggle without being judged by me.

Generosity

Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if (a) you can assume the most generous assumption of my intentions and behaviors, and (b) I can assume the most generous assumption of your intentions and behaviors.

I think that I found the VOLT most awakening because I have built closeness on enemy intimacy. I have respected my good friends’ stories, but have failed respect other people’s stories that I heard either first or second hand. No one deserves their story spread around like a virus. We need to build trust with each other by respecting ALL stories. Gossip can be addicting, but trust can be everything.

Poetry Prompt for May

courage to be imperfect

Write a poem (any style) about your imperfections. #opnoshamepoetry

Find different forms & styles of writing poetry HERE.

 

Shed the shame with therapeutic writing! Each prompt is carefully chosen to go along with the monthly blog post that will be published on the first Monday of each month. Poetry prompts will be published on the first Tuesday of the month starting in June 2017.

P.S. This is Operation No Shame’s first poetry prompt.

Memoir

courage to be imperfect

Memoirs do not document your life. The purpose of a memoir is to relay a PART of your life. The memoir is a story of themed events that got you to a specific time and place in your life. Try your hand at writing a 5-10 page-memoir of the messiest period of your life story.  #opnoshamememoir

 

Shed the shame with therapeutic writing! Each prompt is carefully chosen to go along with the monthly blog post that will be published on the first Monday of each month. Memoir prompts will be published on the first Saturday of the month starting in June 2017.