Vulnerability hangover is the feeling that you have after sharing something profound and putting yourself out there in a way that makes you feel exposed and wanting to take it back.
It’s not necessarily from what we share but how we share it.
We may get it when we feel like the response we got was surprise or shock rather than tenderness and understanding.
So we could be telling ourselves that we scared them off, that they think we are weak or annoying or over-the-top.
Okay, I recognize the feeling of vulnerability… How to deal with it?
Recognize your feelings
Vulnerability hangovers are brutal, especially for those of us who are used to keeping so much close to the chest. There’s a difference between tender vulnerability that helps us get more comparable to people and bond and the disruptive one that puts us out there without a shield.
Ask yourself a set of questions.
Did you share what you shared after contemplating and thinking about it?
Was it out of anxiety and discomfort and not irrelevant to the level of closeness you have with the person you shared with?
Did you do it just to fit in or because you had nothing else to say?
Appreciate your courage
You took a risk, and it was scary. Remember your purpose in sharing. It might be way out of your comfort zone, but perhaps it was precisely what you needed to do to grow.
Once you feel vulnerable…
Get support and help from your close and safe circles or work on having ones, if you don’t, by investing more in trusted stable friendships over the years.
Next time you feel like sharing, remember…
- Take a moment to think about what you want to say.
- Draw your own boundaries of how much you want to share so as not to guilt yourself after.
- Consider keeping some details for yourself.
Even after this, you might still get a vulnerability hangover because people would respond if they did not show empathy and understanding.
It’s okay. You are fine.
A bad experience with sharing is still a good one.
It will make you learn more about where to draw the line … the level of closeness and trust you have with some people and which people are safe to you.
Stay safe, don’t feel wrong about sharing and, ironically, keep some secrets from people because it’s healthy.
“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty.
Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset.
Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.”
― Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior