I’ve had many calls recently with potential workshop attendees and I love sharing memories of previous workshops. I’ve seen and heard it all for the past 9 years now, since I was a participant myself.
One of the most common themes is the powerful healing effect of sharing space with others who can truly relate, being so deeply understood and knowing you are not alone, at last.
One group got so caught up in sharing their experiences with speaking anxiety that they spoke 3 times longer than I’ve ever seen before! Vulnerability sets the stage for others to follow. If the first person had rushed through, and hadn’t been brave enough to share deeply, maybe the others wouldn’t have opened up so much.
Another common theme is learning to “coexist” with fear and strengthening the ability to bear discomfort while reducing emotional responses to physical sensations of anxiety. It’s discovered by accepting the nervous tension, which helps to ease the “fear of the fear”.
In addition to applying this new way of thinking, they experienced further benefit from receiving honest, reality-based feedback from the group immediately after an exercise. While some felt a high level of anxiety and believed that all their physical sensations were extremely obvious to the group, they learned that just because the sensations felt so strong internally, it didn’t mean it is evident to others. They were shocked later to hear how anxious others were and would have never guessed it.
It goes to show that we have no idea how others are feeling inside of themselves. Especially after have hiding this fear, we have become masters of hiding it on the outside.
In general, by sharing your challenge, you’re much more relatable to others, they feel a connection with you. They let go of the tendency to compare themselves once they know what is really going on in someone else’s mind.
You know how we all tend to look at others and say, “Wow, they’ve got it all together. If only I could speak like that someday.” Chances are they are looking at you the same way. Or maybe they have struggled with this fear in their past and maybe still are.
Why are we so discouraged to show vulnerability by sharing our feelings and emotions? Especially when the fear of speaking is #1! It’s likely years and years of programming through society, media, culture, upbringing, etc., has taught us that. But we can change that now that we are aware.