Monday, January 24, 2011

Vulnerability is a Doorway to Happiness

Lately I've become aware that, though I don't feel the heavy sadness I felt in the weeks and months following D-Day, I also don't feel that great joy I felt in my life pre-D-Day. Sure I knew my marriage had its share of problems. And I struggled with motherhood some days – particularly with my first child who was, in popular parlance, "spirited."
But most days – really! – I felt joyful.
Now? Not so much.
If I'm lucky, I get glimpses of contentment.
Most days, however, I feel...flat.
I've written before about the "plain of lethal flatness" or "The Dead Zone." It can be a welcome reprieve from the agony of D-Day, and excruciating highs and lows in the weeks that follow. But it's a place to catch your breath...not unpack your boxes and move in.
And yet. Here I am. Again. Four YEARS later.
Why? Well...if you believe Brené Brown (and, frankly, I do), it's because I've closed myself off from vulnerability. Afraid of feeling that searing pain of having my soul lit on fire (and NOT in a good way), I've chosen, on some level, to simply not feel at all.
Makes sense from a pain-avoidance stance. Not so much for a joy-seeking one.
I've attached Brené Brown's YouTube TedX talk. Watch it. You might just recognize yourself in her words. What's more, you might find within her words and within yourself, the courage to embrace your vulnerability again. To cast off shame and regret and, instead, to reclaim yourself from the detritus of your former life. I plan to try. Join me.


  1. Just watched that clip - and Wow!

    I've just realised that hanging around this remorseful (and no longer unfaithful) husband, giving him a second chance does not make me pathetic - it makes me brave.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Yes, it does make you brave. One of the biggest issues around cheating, I think, is that we (society) shames the victims. Unless we immediately and loudly kick the bum out, we're viewed as pathetic or weak or Pollyanna. Yet it takes a lot of guts to forgive someone such a trust violation. And it takes a lot of courage, as Brené Brown reminds us, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. I'm glad you can see that in yourself.

  3. Loved the clip. Yes, I am there with you. I have chosen not to feel anymore and I am tired of it too. Keep us posted as you try to move past this - we all probably need some suggestions to get us going along the same path. Thanks for all you do!

  4. wow, i get the numbing part. In numbing myself to the pain of the last years, I've also numbed myself of the joys in my life too. I have to work through the pain to reach my joy. I am determined to work through this crap the second time because I deserve joy and i don't think I can go through this again.

  5. This is EJ-I have posted a few times on the hysterical bonding entry. This weekend my husband and I spent some time in the car together and we listened to several TED talks, including this one, so I was surprised to see it here this morning. I found it unusually helpful, especially the references to post-traumatic growth. I liked that they didn't have a rose colored view of it.....



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