Each and every one of us has likely shied away from vulnerability at one point or another. It can be scary to let people see who we really are, unfiltered and unabashed. On Season 1, Episode 9 of the Inner Alchemy Podcast, we are joined by Mazi Robinson to discover how shame can be at work in our lives, keeping us from being our most vulnerable and authentic selves.
The Shame Culture
Mazi Robinson is a licensed professional counselor and speaker who helps women discover their voice in a world full of shame messaging. Through her work, Mazi has witnessed both ends of the spectrum, with vulnerability on one end and shame on the other. While shame robs us of our voice and of our freedom, vulnerability can offer us beauty, growth, and release.
I won’t sugarcoat it; our cultural and societal expectations are deeply rooted in shame, especially for women. We have been conditioned to believe that our primary role in society is to put the needs of others before our own. We are the nurturers; our needs sit in the backseat. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it!
Our society has programmed our brains to question our most authentic selves. Rather than listening to ourselves, we wonder: Do I even know who I am and what I want out of life? Are my needs valid or should they take a backseat? Will culture label me as high-maintenance, excessive, or obnoxious if I am vulnerable and unashamed of my needs and desires?
Instead of give those doubts a run for their money, we resort to shame. We disconnect from what our minds are trying to tell us. We choose to ignore our inner voice… All because society says so.
In Mazi’s words: ‘There are so many people making money off of women not liking themselves, of women not believing they’re good enough as they are.’
The stock market would probably crash tomorrow if we woke up without shame. We wouldn’t seek the newest anti-acne cream, the most expensive and high-tech exercise machine, or Urban Outfitters’ prettiest-packaged multivitamin. Instead of fixating on all of the things we think we need to change about ourselves, we would be showcasing our vulnerabilities as the beautiful gifts they are.
3 Baby Steps You Can Take Towards Vulnerability
Throughout this episode, Mazi shed some light on what it truly means to be vulnerable and how important it is to take those baby steps. In Mazi’s words: ‘Yes, you will take big leaps of vulnerability and courage in your life, but you won’t take those big leaps until you take the baby steps first.’ Here are just a few:
- Get to know yourself! Our minds and bodies have a lot to say and sometimes we forget to listen. Consider: What are my likes? What are my dislikes? How does that make me feel? Vulnerability asks us to learn about ourselves first, so that we can establish a healthy relationship with who we are.
- Recognize when you feel shame. When we feel ashamed, our first response is to push it down as fast and as far as possible. It’s often gone before we even acknowledge that it’s there. Part of being vulnerable is simply recognizing when you feel shame and where it originated so that you can combat that shame later.
- Trust your voice, even with the little things. Healing doesn’t have to be earth shattering. If your voice (or stomach) is telling you that you don’t want to go out to eat at Chili’s, then don’t go out to eat at Chili’s. Trusting yourself is courageous.
To learn more about the healing power of vulnerability, listen to Mazi’s episode of the Inner Alchemy Podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts for more episodes on how you can embrace your vulnerabilities and use them for healing.