Vulnerability and the Stages of Sharing

Don’t share your pain in real-time.


In this backstage interview from Leadercast Women 2019, Glennon Doyle—best-selling author, activist, speaker and founder of Together Rising—explains that while vulnerability is an important leadership trait, it doesn’t mean you have to share details about the pain you’re going through in the present moment. 

“There are different stages of sharing,” she says. “When [pain] fresh and new, it is for your closest circle. And when it has stopped stinging so much that you're willing to use it as an offering, then it can be [shared with a larger audience].”

Watch the video to learn more about vulnerability and the stages of sharing.

In this era of vulnerability, I think that sometimes we can get the wrong idea about what that means. I have a dear friend, Nadia Bolz-Weber, who said something I think is so beautiful, and she said, "In art or in public, we don't share from our open, gaping wounds. We share from our scars."

So what I see happen is that people think, oh, OK, so I'm supposed to be vulnerable to get connection, to be real. And so they pour out, you know, fresh pain, stuff that they haven't mined for gold yet, right, that they haven't begun to heal from. And then what other people do when we do that before we're ready, we want people to go like this, but they go like because that can feel more like a cry for help than an act of service or an offering.

I always think, like in memoir, it's so interesting. People think, oh, you just share your whole thing. No, I don't share a story until years and years after it's happened. My job as a memoirist is to tell the truthiest truth about my life after I know how it's about all of us, so that when I share it, I tell my messy stuff in real-time to my therapist, to my wife, to my closest friends, to my dog.

This is not stuff that goes on the interwebs, right? Once I've put it on the interwebs, it's because I've sat with the pain long enough. You know that thing that happens, where it becomes alchemy, where you're like, after a while, it's just like, oh, that's what that meant, and this is what I have learned from that that now I can offer to help, to connect, not as a desperate cry for help that people don't want to shrink back from.

So that's what I would say, that there are different stages of sharing and that when it's fresh and new, it is for your closest circle. And when it has stopped stinging so much that you're willing to use it as an offering, then it can be for art.
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Glennon Doyle

Glennon Doyle is The New York Times best-selling author of "Love Warrior" and "Carry On, Warrior." She is an activist, speaker and founder of Together Rising, which has raised more than $11 million for women, families and children in ...

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