vulnerability hangover

Since my first workshop last week, I have been having what Brené Brown calls a vulnerability hangover.

It is an excruciating feeling of embarrassment and shame. OMG, what did I just do?

I had just spent weeks of my life planning a workshop that was a waste of time. I had a dead feeling inside, empty and red faced shame.

I had lots of thoughts that I had made a fool of myself, that it was a waste of time and that I had made a participant in the workshop upset. Eventually I reached out to a colleague who had attended the entire workshop, and who's opinion I respected - they cheered me up with some encouraging feedback - that it was helpful, it was well presented, as well as giving me some excellent criticism and things to improve upon. 

A 'vulnerability hangover' is a term to describe the feeling that comes after your have bared your soul, you have put something that you care deeply about into the world, but vulnerability is good for you (and) vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage’ or as Brene said in her Ted Talk,

vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives. And I've come to the belief...that vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage — to be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen, to be honest.

Thinking of the post workshop slump this way is helpful to me. I care so much about this stuff, I am willing to maybe look stupid and be vulnerable, if it gets my message out there - that you don't have to suffer and be suffocated by performance anxiety - then I am willing to have this. I am willing to make room for the hangover.

According to Brené, I'm courageous!

Today I spoke at length to the participant who I thought that was upset by the workshop, I instead found that they seemed to have found the workshop really helpful. I now feel a bit encouraged, the hangover has passed, and I am now looking forward to the next one.

And expecting to feel a bit 'hungover' after it. 

Deborah HartComment