My WhatsApp is filled daily with juicy messages from clients who have stepped out into the world doing things that previously felt a little edgy to them.
From new raunchy sexual experiences to having expressed strong boundaries with friends to posting something on social media that was raw and vulnerable.
The one thing that always follows the courageous story is the explanation of what is known as a vulnerability hangover kicking on in.
A vulnerability hangover is that gut-wrenching feeling of shame, fear, anxiety and doubt that pops right after we undertake an emotional risk. It's an outdated nervous system response of an emotional flashback to a time when it wasn't safe to be wildly sexual, speak our truth or be seen in our vulnerability.
And from my own regular hangover experiences, I know this is hard to sit in but from vast experience, I know it’s part of the process of stepping into our power.
Being vulnerable is not easy. It takes a lot of guts to put your foot down and share who you truly are with someone else.
We’re opening ourselves up to deeper human connection, but we’re also opening ourselves up to the fear of rejection and judgement.
That can be incredibly scary to one’s nervous system, depending on the situation.
There’s a weird misconception out there that being vulnerable makes us weak. Our vulnerability hangovers often reiterate this misconception since we feel “weak” for opening up.
To me, vulnerability hangovers are the most accurate measure of courage.
Vulnerability hangovers only occur when we tap into the deepest parts ourselves — the parts we have been hiding, the parts that are scary to show, and the parts that truly define who we are.
Here’s your guide to being a vulnerability hangover ninja!
1. Celebrate it!
You are stepping into your next level of power.
2. Beware it’s just an outdated nervous system response.
The nervous system needed to protect you in some way previously in life and unless re-wired for safety for the new experiences it will flood your system with all these feelings of shame and fear in an attempt to keep you safe.
3. Rewire, reframe!
So I want to ask yourself what thoughts and feelings/sensations inside your body let you know you are safe to speak your truth, go sexually wild or step into your next level of power?
Start feeling those feelings today, when the body goes into shame, fear, doubt or anxiety create the vision of what lets your know you are safe now and then start to feel how that feels within your body.
4. Embrace shame, fear, judgement, and anxiety.
Instead of repressing these emotional states feel them, express them, how do they move in your body, how do they sound? Be with them, the more they be felt, the quicker they release from the nervous system.
5. Become a badass at pendulation.
Let yourself feel the emotions then consciously choose to choose how you actually desire to feel. You can use deep breathing, deep inhales and exhales to transition between emotional states.