Tag Archives: shame

Vulnerability…It Sucks yet We Need it. Brene Brown explains why.

I watched the TED talk by Brene Brown and was moved to share.

Dr Brene Brown studies vulnerability, courage, shame and authenticity.

As she explored shame and empathy, she came to understand what thriving whole- hearted people had that increased their sense of worth and joy …it was their ability to be vulnerable.

In therapy, we are taught to lean into the discomfort yet in our leanings we often make choices to avoid, numb, escape, because discomfort isn’t something that most of us are actually comfortable handling.


I remember years ago having a big argument with my spouse and I was working hard to be in the moment: feel the pain, allow myself to be vulnerable but I ended up researching ashrams I could visit.
Ahhhhh, again – escape.
I did not take a trip yet just researching it and fantasizing about it was another way to lean against discomfort, push it away, meditate it away, breathe it away, fly away and more.

Most of us numb ourselves, as Dr Brown says with, Beer and Banana Nut Muffins….I’d add a few more to my ‘successful’ numbing list, such as smoking.
All of which consist of our own ‘smoke screen’ for our real, raw and at times unbearable feelings.

Being vulnerable facilitates connection and isn’t connection why we exist?

Our internalized messages of shame and fear, reinforce the distortion that we are not worthy, that something deep inside ourselves is inherently flawed, that if someone saw our ‘true’ self we would be rejected, dis-connected, and pushed aside.

Despite this message and the guards and the defenses we put up to protect ourselves, just the opposite is true. By being vulnerable and our true self, we allow joy, exploration, gratitude, and the possibility of bliss.

Yes, we leave ourselves open to pain, rejection and heartbreak. If we guard ourselves from this, we essentially block the potentials for joy.

In order for connection to happen we need to be vulnerable, allow it, lean into it…..because we ARE worthy.

Lust, Just one of the Seven Deadly Sins

Lust, Lust, and more Lust.

This week I was discussing my fantasy of opening a breakfast restaurant in a beach tourist location upon my retirement with the theme of the “7 Deadly Sins”.  I recognize I would need to choose a liberal beach community such as Key West to avoid the ‘wrath’ I might receive from the devoutly religious.

Wrath, Greed, Pride, Sloth, Lust, Envy and Gluttony.

It may prove challenging to create a menu based upon these themes, yet I found it intriguing to utilize these sins in a food fashion;  while using humor at addressing our human frailties and vices.

Over 1.7 thousand years ago, the 4th century  monk Evagrius Ponticus created a list of eight “evil thoughts”: Gluttony, Fornication, Avarice, Hubris, Sadness, Wrath, Boasting and Dejection.

In 590 AD, Pope Gregory I revised Ponticus list to create the base form of what we view in our modern society of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Being a sexual therapist, lust is on the forefront of my practice.  Too much lust, not enough lust, is this ‘normal’ lust, how do I deal with my lust, oh I’m awful….LUST.

Lust is usually thought of as excessive sexual thoughts and desires .

“In Dante’s Purgatorio, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful/sexual thoughts and feelings. In Dante’s “Inferno”, unforgiven souls of the sin of lust are blown about in restless hurricane-like winds symbolic of their own lack of self control to their lustful passions in earthly life.”     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins

Look at the punishment related to our human instincts towards lust: Walking into flames, hurricanes and more.

Despite the validity of our vices recognized even in the 4th Century, it is the shame element that continues to haunt us in the 21st century.

Even in current society, most of us have heard of sex as our ‘dirty little secret’,  ‘don’t touch down there’, ‘women are not suppose to enjoy it, want it, crave it”.  In Danish history, as in many other cultures I presume , they would tether little girls hands at night to prevent self stimulation.  In the Victorian age, chair legs needed to be covered to avoid someone feeling ‘aroused’.  Boys received messages that masturbation led to hairy palms and even insanity.  Lets not forget about ‘Chastity Belts’ .

All shamed based messages about our innate sexual selves.

When we look at our hormones that fuel lust (testosterone in particular), we have a more realistic and biological view of its role in each of our lives.  Where does shame belong in biology?

It is only our choices related to our natural lustful urges that may contribute to feelings of shame: if we disrespect our self, our relationships, make unsafe choices, or even harm another.

Lust is pervasive in our humanness as well as expressed in our culture. Strip clubs bring in revenues of $75 billion, the porn industry accounts for approximately $57 Billion and every second over 400 people are searching for porn online.

My site alone has received over 10 thousand hits in 3 1/2 month from the word ‘SEXY’.   The most clicked on picture  on my site is an attractive female.

We are naturally drawn to beauty, to experience lust and desire, to want to see, feel, and touch another.

Lust is part of who we are.

When we accept this as a natural part of who we are, managing our lustful choices can become more manageable.

Despite lust being one of the 7 deadly sins, it can be rejoiced and enjoyed in a responsible fashion with moderation, compassion, respect for self and other, and safety.

Maybe I will one day open that fantasized restaurant, although I think “Gluttony” would be the predominant theme.

For today, its Lust, Lust and more…lust.

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