I’m not just looking for the cure to addiction. I’m looking for the solution to the pain of the human condition. That is what I am researching, and when I find clues, I am eager to share them. So when I heard a fellow writer in a story-writing group read about the power of authenticity, I knew immediately that more people needed to receive the gift of his insight. He chooses to remain anonymous, but I’ll be forever thankful for his friendship, and for these words…
Authenticity is my superpower.
I learned many years ago that I can literally become bigger than life when I show up authentically. When I share my self or my story from an authentic place, I can share a powerful example of connection that can reach across aisles, oceans, generations, and color lines. I think that my authenticity is most powerful when it is as natural as a gentle breeze, as unique as a snowflake, as refreshing as a drop of rain.
But when I allow that authenticity to get kidnapped by ulterior motives – to manipulate, to embarrass, to humblebrag – the natural beauty of these phenomena morph into their most destructive forms. Instead, my hijacked ego becomes a tornado, an avalanche, or a tsunami.
Over the past six months, I have learned that my vulnerability is the gateway to my true authenticity. My true authenticity remains a super power, but not one belonging to a super hero. It is the super power of a super struggler, a super stutterer, a super fool, or a super addict. At its heart, my vulnerability is the super power of a scared little boy, just wanting to love and to be worthy of love.
Recently, I have been consumed by understanding my shame, which I learned has come primarily from feeling unworthy resulting from childhood neglect (of course, I have so many ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), it’s hard to pinpoint the exact one cause). I have learned that the feeling of unworthiness is at the core of addiction.
I have been getting to the heart of where unworthiness comes from, and learning that this seed of shame may look different for each of us, but the vines that it becomes will entwine us just the same.
Brene’ Brown says to grow shame in a petri dish, just add 3 ingredients: secrecy, silence, judgment.
But what is the kryptonite to Shame? Empathy.
And the fastest way to touch your own empathy is to unlock your vulnerability.
What is keeping my super power from radiating like a shock wave from my core? What is keeping me small, unwilling to rock the boat, fearful of the unknown?
Is it a cloak of safety allowing me to shield myself from the rays of criticism? Is it a special ring, allowing me to hide amongst the masses? Or is it rigid self-preservation, me striving to be a nail that refuses to push above others, just in case someone’s rogue hammer of judgment is feeling vindictive that day?
I am choosing to change the script. I am choosing to say my vulnerability is a product of my generosity. The only thing keeping it harnessed is my resistance to give it away.
My vulnerability is my willingness to share it with others.
I share with you my vulnerability. I share with you my scared little child, because you matter to me.
If you’d benefit from a safe place to share you vulnerability, and explore the power of your authenticity, you are welcome in SHOUT Sobriety – our program for high-functioning alcoholics in early sobriety.