Got a Vulnerability Hangover?

vulnerability hangover Brene Brown

I first heard the term “vulnerability hangover” from the shame and vulnerability expert, Brené Brown. The phrase described how she felt after giving a TedTalk where she spoke about having an emotional breakdown, and simultaneously taught the world that being vulnerable is essential to wholehearted living.

Brené confessed that she woke up the morning after her talk with one of the worst vulnerability hangovers of her life, and she didn’t leave her house for 3 days. This confession was not only hilariously ironic, but it was also deeply human and relatable (and is probably why millions fell in love with her!).

We’ve probably all experienced a vulnerability hangover at some point… You know, that wanting to crawl under your covers and not emerge till the sun rises again kind of feeling? It comes up after you did something brave, took an emotional risk, shared your truth and stepped outside your comfort zone.

Maybe you spilled your guts to hundreds of people online, or maybe you opened your heart to someone you’ve been crushing on. Perhaps you challenged your boss or maybe you shared a piece of art you’ve been working on. And with all these experiences you risked being judged, criticized and rejected…And right after the exposure came the flood of fear, self-doubt and regret, and all you wanted was to retreat back into your shell.

And yet…there is nothing wrong with wanting to curl into a ball and hide from the world. It is your natural human response to living bravely. And you just drank a hard bottle of courage, my friend.

And it’s likely that you DO need to retreat and recharge. Your nervous system took a hit and needs time to integrate the experience and return to its regular functioning. Can you listen to your body’s wisdom and give it what it needs (A hug? Rest? Comfort food?).

So yes, it’s terrifying, and you might feel like you can never face the light of day again. But the feeling will pass… And through these experiences you are inviting purpose, meaning and deeper connection to your life.

The hangover is simply the growing pain that tells you that you’ve just leveled up in your journey of wholehearted living.