I’ve been avoiding writing this post for a couple of days. The idea for the post came from my all too familiar internal conversation about making an appointment with my accountant. I do my own books (if they were kids, I’d be in jail for negligence), so it’s important that I keep her in the loop during the year. But I’m feeling vulnerable.
Because I’m embarrassed. I’m scared of what I might hear from her. I’m all different types of emotional words that I can’t even figure out. But most of all I’m too embarrassed to ask. So, I don’t ask. I don’t make the call to the woman who has seen me through every one of Bo’s and my startups and fall downs and everything in between over the last 3 decades.
By not asking, I deny her the opportunity to tell me, “You always come through these things; it’s amazing but you do.” I’m denying myself the opportunity to hear from the one person still left on the earth who knows both my shame and my dreams about my business, my financial situation, and my life in general.
And here‘s the thing.
I can’t even write this down.
I had to stop and cry.
I’m denying myself the support and understanding that she offers me every single time that we talk. I am complicit in staying stuck in the quagmire of self-inflicted shame and guilt.
When I deny myself the opportunity to hear how much better I’m doing, that the ups and downs of my business are normal (which, of course, I know intellectually), it’s virtually impossible to move past those feelings. And it’s all because I don’t like feeling vulnerable.
Yes, I do see the irony. In most things, I’m very transparent. I’m not afraid go on Facebook Live on my morning walks with bedhead, barely conscious, but I’m too embarrassed to pick up the phone and talk to her most loyal supporter.
Pretty sure I’m not the only person who doesn’t like feeling so vulnerable. What’s your most vulnerable spot? Is it a terror of never finding a job? Or shame that you can’t figure out what you want to do? Or guilt about not staying current with what’s going on in the job market while you’ve been at home raising your family?
Move past it
So, how do we push past being too embarrassed to ask for support? Wish I had a definitive answer for this one. Here’s what I’m doing. First, I’m writing this post. I’m working out my fears and other emotions through my keyboard. I’m picturing that airing my feelings in public will (a) take some of the sting out of them and (b) will physically create space in my head where I can gather the courage to make that call.
Second, I’m going to put calling for an appointment on my calendar. Assigning the call to a particular day and time will make it easier for me to make the call.
Third, I’m going to work on recognizing that the only person judging me is me. Oh my, realizing that it’s those darn shoulds limiting my thinking. Whoa! Where did that come from? I’ve never formulated that thought before! Judging my progress based on shoulds, or other people’s expectations, limits my ability to develop new strategies to move forward.
Are you too embarrassed to be vulnerable?
What are you too embarrassed to ask? If you feel like you’re being judged, who is doing the judging – you or other people? Can you identify the shoulds that are feeding those thoughts?
This week I’m going to focus on appreciating where I am right now. I am not going to succumb to embarrassment; instead I will be proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. I will own those accomplishments and forget about being too embarrassed to ask.