• Lena Jennings

Emotionally Unavailable

Updated: Aug 19, 2020


There is this commercial that has become a household favorite of ours and now a running joke where our response for many things is "it's fine" in a solemn voice. In the commercial a woman explains away her eczema symptoms by saying "it's fine" and shows how the disease impacts her life in this TV commercial for Eczema Exposed. As a disclaimer, by no means is eczema funny, it's the way that they market the commercial. For example, she'll be in an oversized coat when it's hot outside and her friend asks "aren't you hot?" and the women will uncomfortably respond "it's fine" even though her symptoms are obviously bothering her. Her nonchalant lackluster way of saying everything is fine when it's clearly not is funny.

That commercial remains funny until I compare it to how I handle my emotions — I say “I’m fine” to everything when in reality my emotions/feelings are all over the place and need to talk it out. I need to show up and be seen but instead I let my shame of my imperfections prevent me from being seen. With the onset of so many changes I've felt so much pressure to just keep it all together. But why? When we experience shame there's this trigger in our minds that tells us that we must hide ourselves and our imperfections. We try to cover up everything and pretend that it's fine and in doing so we are only hurting ourselves more and missing out on the joys of human connection.

When we experience shame the very best thing to do is the exact opposite of our natural reaction: practice courage and reach out. Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. But it’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think. Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives pretending that [you're] fine. Embracing our emotions and owning our shame is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

#vulnerability #connection #shame

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