The biggest challenge to being vulnerable is shame, which has two tapes: The first says, "You're not good enough." The second asks, "Who do you think you are?" Which do you hear most often in the quiet of your mind?
Can you think of some specific times when those messages kept you small?
Secrecy, silence and judgment keep shame alive, and empathy keeps it from growing. Is there someone who has earned the right to hear your story and will create a space of empathy for you?
If you think you're not pretty/smart/skinny enough, ask yourself, "Have I bought into something that's keeping me small that's got no basis in reality?" Now write down where the message came from.
Would you say you numb yourself—turning to food, social media, TV, gossip, anything—rather than be vulnerable? How do you numb? What brings you true comfort?
One of the things people need when they are about to "step into the arena" is clarity about their values. What is one value that you use as a light in your life? Why is it important?
Can you describe a time you felt great joy but then started "dress-rehearsing tragedy"? The antidote is gratitude. So, the next time you feel foreboding joy, what will you be grateful for?
What is the biggest difference between the person you show the world and the person you are?
At the beginning of each week, can you pledge to contribute more than you criticize? What would be the hardest part to upholding that promise?
Printed from Oprah.com on Sunday, December 8, 2013