“Our imperfections are what connect us to one another and to our humanity.
Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we’re all in this together.”
Quote from Brene Brown’s work.
There’s no question that emotional vulnerability allows connection.
Whether that’s through a conversation or in writing, when we open up to our fears, longings, and emotional truths, we feel closer to each other.
In an equal person-to-person exchange in real-time, vulnerability builds connection. There is a give and take.
When the balance is off, like the other person not reciprocating or you oversharing, you can feel it. Just as you can sense when the person you’re speaking to doesn’t care or can’t hold your truth. You might back off and close down if you don’t feel safe.
This is natural and normal. An imbalance of vulnerability creates power dynamics. Your body is aware of this even if you’re not conscious of it.
In writing, it’s a little different. You might write alone and have no clue how many people your words will reach, in whichever way you share.
You may have a fear of visibility, discomfort being seen.
Especially being seen in vulnerability when sharing a personal story.
In today’s world where recording and sharing is easy, we have the means to be vulnerable online for consumption by masses, and things go unexpectedly viral, it’s especially important to check in where your own boundaries lie.
Some people are really comfortable with visibility, naturally sharing about themselves freely and openly, unworried about the world’s reactions. And some aren’t, struggling to manage shame spirals resulting from being seen.
Can you recall a time your work was seen before you were ready? It can feel quite invasive.
Being yourself, aligned with your authentic self, does not mean your vulnerability is for public consumption.
Openness and authenticity are great values.
Your visceral reactions to sharing your writing might be a positive stretch, like standing atop a diving board. Or it might be your body saying, “No, too much.”
Imagine concentric circles surrounding you. If you’re familiar with energetic principles, imagine your body, energy bubble, and auric field extending out from you in all directions.
Your deepest innards are sacred, those most sensitive parts at the core of your being.
The next layer is what you share with those closest to you.
The outer layer is what those who don’t know you well see.
When your writing hits your sacred core, doesn’t the intensity of letting the public in make sense?
So how do you know the difference between a courageous stretch versus more than your body can take?
Titrate your journey.
There’s a bit of the unknown, where you don’t know how you’re going to feel with people reading your writing… until people are actually reading your writing. Play and explore when sharing and notice your own process.
Every creative has different needs and levels of comfort around the sharing of vulnerable writing.
Distinguish what sorts of things you feel okay with sharing, and what you don’t.
You might find that certain topics are off-limits while others you don’t mind being open about. This is good information.
It takes practice to put little bits of yourself out there, see how it feels, and build the muscle of vulnerability. It might be tempting to just throw yourself into the deep end, but be cognizant when your body tightens up.
Get comfortable with knowing for yourself where your boundaries are with how much vulnerability you’re okay with sharing in your personal writing.
Things to try.
- Create a sacred container for your innermost personal writings that is completely private.
- Explore your comfort.
Would you feel safest if your writing was anonymous and no one who knew you could read it?
Would you feel safer if only those who knew you could see your words, not strangers?
Do you need two weeks for the words to sit before sharing so you’re not as attached?
Can you only share with your best friend at first? A trusted group?
- Play with a space for writings that you want to share, but aren’t ready yet.
A great way is through an anonymous blog. I’ve had great success with this as a practice. You control the visibility setting–private, password protected, for those with the link, etc.
- Edit consciously. What frame helps you feel good about what you put out there? What details can be modified to feel safe?
Wherever you’re at is okay.
Even if that means you’re not ready to share. The outcome isn’t the only thing that’s important–how you feel matters.
If you’re going at a rate where you’re overwhelmed and experiencing increasing shame spirals every time you share your writing, it might be time to pause, slow down, and see what you need.
Imagine you’re an ocean, and have choice for how deeply you allow others to wander into your shores.
You are more than your words. You still get to keep that sacred core deep within you safe, private, and untouchable.
About the author
I help people connect and tell their stories.
I am a certified coach, writing mentor, writer, and group facilitator who enjoys helping people who’ve felt different and struggle with feeling disconnected.
Since 2008, I’ve worked with writers in every messy step of the creation process. I’m passionate about delving deep into the story underneath the story — the root cause of the struggle with communication — so you can feel good about the results.