From Courage to Connection

courage

 

One week after sharing the news about my impending divorce, my heart is still racing. Not with anxiety, but with gratitude.

 

In Brené Brown's book I Thought It Was Just Me, she coined the term “vulnerability hangover” to describe the feeling you get after you've shared something personal with someone and then think to yourself: “Oh my God! Why did I share that? What the heck was I thinking?”

 

Thankfully, my vulnerability hangover only lasted about an hour — until the comments, e-mails, texts, and phone calls started rolling in. The support and encouragement I've received from friends, family, and even people I've never met has been truly overwhelming and inspiring.

 

Although privately I had sought professional help to deal with my emotions, as well as support from a few friends and family members, I hid my vulnerability from most people because I risked being open to criticism, disapproval, and rejection. I feared I'd be judged as being “not good enough.” Not lovable enough for my husband, not smart enough to know how to save my marriage, and not successful enough to teach others about relationships.

 

But being authentic and honest about my struggles on the blog has actually unlocked the door to new friendships and deeper connections. Some people have opened up to me about their own marital problems and divorces. Others have reached out to offer their companionship or help with child care. Mostly, people have let me know that I can count on them to be there for me in whatever way I need them. I feel relieved, reassured, and comforted knowing that I'm not alone. And so extremely grateful. Thank you.

 

Brené Brown sums up the big takeaway from my experience:

 

“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on “going it alone.” Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into ‘those who offer help' and ‘those who need help.' The truth is that we are both.” 

 

If you're dealing with your own struggles right now, I want you to know that you're not alone. And if your problems relate to parenting in any way, I'm here to help or just to listen.

 

I may be biased, but I think the readers of this blog are an incredible group of wise and expressive people. So feel free (and courageous) to use the comments section below to share your story and connect with, or reach out to, other parents.

 

With much love,

Pam

 

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Showing 5 comments
  • Clare Greig
    Reply

    Oh the vulnerability hangover. I can totally resonate with you on that one. So often we share and then freak out but then we hear from others who have benefited from your share and shared too. We all need to stand shoulder to shoulder when life is tough. 🙂

  • Helen Butler
    Reply

    Pam, I’m so glad to see this post. I know you were a little worried about sharing your news with us last week – but in the end it was a good decision. I’m not saying it wasn’t easy. I’m saying that your vulnerability and honesty has brought us into your life so we can support and share our own story. And that’s such a powerful thing. Hugs to you gorgeous one. Xx

    • Pam Howard
      Reply

      Helen – Thank you for all the support and kindness you’ve given me. I’m so fortunate to know you.

  • Kristy
    Reply

    Pam, I’m so pleased that your vulnerability has opened new doors and is helping you heal. Hoping this continues for you. I’m realising that the feeling of connection is something we all hanker. Well done on opening up the doors.

    • Pam Howard
      Reply

      Yes, Kristy…it’s all about connection. We all crave it. Thanks for keeping our connection strong. xoxo

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