“The Power of Vulnerability” video
This is a lecture about connection. Because people connect. She discovered that when she discussed connection people had stories about shame and fear… the fear of disconnection. This ‘excruciating vulnerability’: Have to allow ourselves to be seen… really seen.
Those who have a sense of Worthiness believe they are worthy of love and belonging. They have the courage to be imperfect. They are kind to themselves and then also to others. They are authentic beings. They embraced their vulnerability. They believe what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful and that being vulnerable is necessary.
I believe that with chronic illness what suffers is our sense of worthiness. Often it is because the concept of our selfhood suffers. Who we think we are, who others think we are, what we think we should be, what others think we should be… all this thinks batter against our sense of self. We may have believed we were worthy but then lose that. We suffer tremendous guilt that we are sick. That we cannot do all the things we think we should. Perhaps we are not able to work, and therefore even that is something we should feel guilty about. We are Not kind to ourselves.
She says that often we numb vulnerability. Which numbs everything, such as joy, gratitude, and happiness. With chronic illness, we often do numb vulnerability because we feel it is a weakness. We feel that our chronic illness has compromised our ability to function in society and this makes us vulnerable and we have to mask this as best we can… because we are supposed to be ashamed of this, all stigma we have been exposed to tells us we should be ashamed of this weakness. It does make it difficult to find gratitude in our lives. In fact, that is why it is recommended we do daily gratitude exercises… to help us connect to that.
She makes some recommendations at the very end here:
Let ourselves be seen
Truly be seen. And this can be difficult since with chronic pain we often have a facade on to mask a part of our pain from others. To function. To not have others worry. I had a doctor once tell me that I was very ‘stoic’. And I wanted to tell him that I was very stoic because people like him had made me so. Their indifference to my pain made me mask it. How can we be seen when we are invisible I wonder? How can we truly express ourselves when people do not want to see our suffering? How can I say this is my life when no one wants to hear it?
Love with our whole hearts
This I definitely believe to be true. Love openly and completely. Like there is no tomorrow.
Practice gratitude and joy
Definitely practice gratitude. Every day write down even one small thing you are grateful or thankful for. It is said to help with your mental outlook and mood… and certainly, it does no harm. It is said it takes three positive thoughts to replace one negative one, so this is the idea behind this… focusing on at least one good thing a day.
I am enough
I think we all should try to think real hard on this one. We are enough just the way we are. Not as we could be. Not as we were. Not if we had no pain. Not if we were cured. But just as we are. What we can accomplish is enough. How we love is enough. How we function is enough. Who we are is enough. We are intrinsically valuable and worthy and enough.