We all want to be perfect and have everyone like us.
That’s what social media is all about. Show off your best side and count the likes that come in.
But that desire to be seen as perfect has a dark side.
Have you ever stopped yourself from sharing your opinion, because you knew people would criticize you?
Have you ever done something you didn’t really want to, because you didn’t want to be seen as the sort of person who would say no?
Have you closed off parts of yourself, because they don’t fit in with the image you want people to have of you?
Everyone does those things from time to time. It’s part of the human condition.
We want so much to be loved and to belong that we shoehorn ourselves into a box. We shame ourselves for not being who we think we should be.
But life coach Monica Ottosson believes there’s a different way.
Monica is a Daring Way™ facilitator who specializes in the work of shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown.
In this YBTV interview, she shows us why vulnerability matters. Yes, it’s risky, but it’s also courageous. The allure of perfection can’t compare to being truly seen and known by others.
Take a Daring Way workshop with Monica
What You’ll Learn
Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”
Who wants to be vulnerable?
As soon as you’re vulnerable, someone can hurt you. They know your weaknesses. They can humiliate you in front of others.
Many of us grow up believing that we should toughen up, stop being so sensitive, and go out there with our game face on. We don’t see healthy vulnerability modeled for us in our families. As a result, we grow into adults with well-developed defenses.
But Monica Ottosson believes that vulnerability is not a weakness. It’s courage.
There are lots of paradoxes when it comes to vulnerability, she explains.
It looks like courage in other people but weakness in ourselves. We like to see other people being vulnerable, but we don’t want other people to see us being vulnerable.”
Yet when we take that risk and expose ourselves emotionally, we find that we connect with people in a much deeper way.
The Myth of Perfection
One of the obstacles to vulnerability is perfection.
“Perfection is a way to armor up, to not be vulnerable,” Monica says. It often has roots in childhood. Yet it works against us, not for us. “If we try to be perfect, we’re going to hustle for worthiness, and we’re not going to truly connect with other people.”
Another problem with perfection is that it reduces us from the complex, multidimensional beings we are into cookie-cutter conformists. “We get a lot of messages about what we should look like and behave, but there’s so much more inside of us that wants to get out.”
Comparison feeds the drive for perfection. When you look at other people, you can feel envious about how much better their lives seem to be. But that’s a myth.
What I always tell people is that we usually compare our insides with other people’s outsides, meaning: ‘Here I am, with my imperfections, with my pain, with my hurt, with everything that’s me… and I compare that with something that I see on the outside of other people.’ That’s not a fair comparison.”
How Shame and Critics Shut Us Down
When you begin testing the waters of vulnerability, you can find yourself stepping into the trap of sharing your stories with the wrong people or sharing too much. Social media in particular encourages oversharing, which isn’t the same as vulnerability.
Another obstacle to vulnerability is the feeling of shame. We’re ashamed of admitting that we’re not perfect, that we make mistakes, that we’re not always who we hoped we’d be.
Shame is when we feel, ‘I’m bad. I did something bad. I’m not worthy. I’m not good.’ So we will always feel ashamed, because we are afraid of disconnection.”
In particular, when we’re trying to do the work of being authentic, we can find that other people criticize or shame us. They make snarky comments about who we are and the stories we share.
There’s no need to listen to those people, because they’re not “in the arena” with you. They’re sitting in the stands as spectators. They haven’t earned the right to offer feedback.
Practicing vulnerability doesn’t mean that your life will suddenly turn around and look rosy. It offers no guarantees. You will fall. But you will get back up again. And you’ll find that you no longer want to live any other way.
Monica offers Daring Way™ workshops that explore emotions like vulnerability, shame, empathy and compassion.
At the core of the work is really, ‘What thoughts, emotions and fears are holding me back?’ Then we look at, ‘What choices can I make?” and, “What practices can I put into place in order to lead a more authentic and wholehearted life?'”
Jump to Topics of Interest
02:09 Being trained by Brené Brown
03:24 Comparing your insides with other people’s outsides
04:04 What is vulnerability and why it’s hard
06:44 Why we all feel shame and why we need to talk about it
08:46 The myth of perfectionism
09:59 Oversharing in the age of social media
11:00 Healing the broken places through vulnerability
11:52 Choosing who you choose to share your stories with
13:20 Whose opinions/advice to value
15:28 How to find out who you are through identifying your values
17:45 The importance of taking time to listen in to our bodies
18:45 Being true to yourself doesn’t mean you will always win
19:06 What it’s like taking a Daring Way™ workshop
Learn More about Monica’s Work
We’re honored to have Monica as one of our guest authors here at Your Brilliance, specializing in the topics of shame and vulnerability. Read more of her work.
About Monica Ottosson
Monica is a certified Co-active coach and The Daring Way™ facilitator, trained to deliver the curriculum based on Brené Brown’s research. Monica coaches clients all over the world in addition to leading workshops and facilitating trainings. Find out how you can work with Monica.