Escape the Cold
Her teeth are chattering like crazy and her fingers are too numb to take selfies. It’s a nightmare!
Jane’s visiting a Northern European village in the dead of winter and she made the mistake of seriously underdressing for the occasion. Now, the cold is teaching her a lesson.
Dreaming of magically finding a Starbucks around the corner, Jane instead sees some blissfully warm locals walking out of an old building down the street. Curious, and desperate for refuge, she shuffles over and ventures in.
To her relief, she discovers the building is the home of a bathhouse. There are saunas, thermal baths, and steam rooms. Beautiful, beautiful warmth!
But Jane doesn’t go in.
Instead she turns back into the miserable cold.
A Bad Decision
Jane doesn’t go into the bathhouse because it’s birthday suits only and she’s not comfortable getting naked in public.
Rationally, she knows her decision makes no sense. She should worry a lot more about freezing to death that “dying” of embarrassment from strangers seeing her lady bits. It’s a dumb decision.
Don’t you dare judge Jane though! Regardless of how comfortable you are with your own body, you almost certainly make a similar mistake every day.
A Common Mistake
The only difference between Jane’s mistake and one we regularly make is that it’s not our bodies we’re afraid of exposing; It’s our emotions.
There’s a word for this fear: Shame.
Back when we were kids, we didn’t know what shame was. We had no problem exposing ourselves—physically or mentally. But as we grow up, society pressures us to keep everything concealed. We so irregularly expose ourselves that, as in Jane’s case, it becomes unbearably uncomfortable to do. And the longer we go without letting it all hang out, the stronger our shame becomes.
We then trick ourselves into believing we’re being strong by keeping everything concealed. The truth is the opposite. Just like Jane, we’re being weak and cowardly by letting shame overcome us. And we suffer as a result.
On the bright side, shame can be quickly vanquished. We need only look at the locals at the bathhouse as inspiration. They have no problem exposing themselves. Why? Because they do it all the time!
The same goes for our emotions. The more we expose ourselves, the less places shame has to hide, and the easier it becomes. With a little bit of balls (or boobs) we can soon be like the locals in the bath house: happy, warm, and naked.
Beware Over Exposure
While you shouldn’t let shame hold you back from exposing your emotions, don’t overdo it either. Over-exposing your emotions is the equivalent of walking around naked on the streets. Maybe you’ll feel less shame, but you’ll scare off others and find yourself in more trouble than you started in.
Again, take a lesson from the Europeans in the bathhouse. While they have no problem being naked in the appropriate situations, they are otherwise stylishly dressed.
Dare Greatly to be the First To Bare It All
What would you do if you were with Jane and she told you to get naked in the bathhouse while she stayed covered up and watched? Unless you’re an exhibitionist, you’d be creeped out and say no, right?
This example may seem silly, but we often make the same mistake by asking others to be vulnerable before we do so ourselves.
If we want to encourage those around us to be vulnerable and expose themselves, we have lead by example. The courage to do so is contagious.
Do you feel you’re being held back by the pressure society puts on us to not be vulnerable? Or do you have children, colleagues, or friends who you wish would open up?
If so, watch Brené Brown’s TED Talk below, then check out her book Daring Greatly. Seize the opportunity to get more out of life by letting it all hang out, and teaching others to do the same.
See you in the bathhouses!
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