It wasn’t so much a slow seductive unraveling of a robe, as it was a stark and sudden ripping off of my clothes. There I was. Freezing cold, bare naked. Everything hanging out for the world to see.
It was an uncomfortable feeling. Kind of like the excruciating wait after you send your crush a deep and emotional text, and wonder whether you should have ever done it. Only multiplied by 7 billion, because it is not just one person you are sharing yourself with, it is the world. One part of you wants them to respond but the other part of you dreads it; what if they don’t say what we want them to? What if I look stupid?
Brene Brown, an absolutely incredible writer, mainly on the topic of vulnerability, calls this the vulnerability hangover. The morning after you show yourself bare naked and wonder whether perhaps you should have just left you clothes on?
Yes. I have a vulnerability hangover.
What am I doing? I think to myself sometimes. Ok. Sometimes is an understatement. All. The. Time.
Just like most human beings on the planet, I too am sh!t scared about showing too much of myself. In fact, when I was at high school, I used to carry around a large thick cloak, which wrapped up the fragility and sensitivity of the real me and hid it from the judgment and the harshness of the outside world. My best friend and worst enemy, my eating disorder, gave me an illusion of control in a world that felt way too uncertain and unpredictable.
It worked for a while. But eventually, the things that I tried to control began to control me, and again, I became lost in a sea of tumultuous waves that I couldn’t control. I was trying So. Very. Hard. But yet, I was still drowning.
I think that is the thing about uncertainty, just like the waves, when we vigilantly try to resist, we become tired and exhausted. Eventually, we might even begin to drown. Yet when we are aware and accepting, we can reserve our energy for when it is most needed. We might still get knocked around a little, but for the most part, we float.
Almost every day on social media, I post words and pictures about things that I hope will empower people to feel thankful, meaningful, joyful or any other given positive emotion. My very company is grounded on the idea of purposeful living, and leading a life that you love.
I fundamentally believe everything that I say and post, and I am very careful in my selection. I don’t choose things based on how many likes I believe they might get, but rather how many hearts I hope they might touch.
However, I mention all of this because I also realize that at times, my company and posts may perpetuate a societal distortion that I feel very passionately about. One of my favorite quotes of all times is by a man named Steve Furtick. Steve said The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. In a world inundated with highlight reels facebook, instagram, twitter, you name it this couldn’t be more true.
Starting a business has been one of the most exciting rides of my life. However it has also been daunting, terrifying, lonely, scary, frustrating, painful and so many other things. For the most part, the world sees the tea-cup ride, when in fact I feel like I’m on the worlds scariest rollercoaster: going down the biggest dip and unsure whether its ever going to pivot back up.
My behind the scenes is absolutely terrifying. And I want everyone to know it. Because when we see the highlight reels of individuals and companies, we inevitably begin to feel inadequate. Not because we are inadequate, but because we are human. And as humans, we care about our likeability and social ranking. It is in our DNA. But the problem that is arising is that we are ranking everything we know about ourselves against a smidgeon of what we know about others. And the best smidgeon! It is a distorted comparison, and awareness is key.