You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.
Men walk this tightrope where any sign of weakness illicits shame, and so they're afraid to make themselves vulnerable for fear of looking weak.
My husband's a pediatrician, so he and I talk about parenting all the time. You can't raise children who have more shame resilience than you do.
I hesitate to use a pathologizing label, but underneath the so-called narcissistic personality is definitely shame and the paralyzing fear of being ordinary.
I think if you follow anyone home, whether they live in Houston or London, and you sit at their dinner table and talk to them about their mother who has cancer or their child who is struggling in school, and their fears about watching their lives go by, I think we're all the same.
Through my research, I found that vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It's the magic sauce.
A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.
I can encourage my daughter to love her body, but what really matters are the observations she makes about my relationship with my own body.
Normally, when someone we love is turning away from a struggle, we self-protect by also turning away. That's definitely my first response. I think change is more likely to happen if both partners have common language and a shared lens to see problems.
The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I'm willing to show you. In you, it's courage and daring. In me, it's weakness.