Sarah McCarten

Thirty things I’ve learned about shame and vulnerability. A guest post by Alex Headrick



I was so excited when Alex offered to contribute to this series. Guys this is well worth a read. Thanks so much!

About a year ago my husband and I were in the midst of the hardest season we’d ever experienced, and I found myself living in another’s home in a desperate attempt to salvage what little of “me” I had left. It was during that time that I made a commitment to myself, and to God, to just focus on me for a little while. That was the beginning of my journey through the valleys of shame and into a life lived vulnerably. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it, and my life is fuller and more meaningful because I’ve learned to live this way. It changed my marriage, my friendships, even my job! Below are 30 things I’ve learned on this journey—and may it be a roadmap to yours!

  1. Being vulnerable is terrifying.  Like full-on-panic-attack terrifying.
  2. To live vulnerably means a shift in perspective. Which means..
  3. …we’ve got to redefine some things. We’re all in bondage to bad definitions.
  4.  The word vulnerability get’s a bad rap. While it came mean we are open to attack, it also works the other way…we’re open to receive.
  5. Shame  silences  vulnerability.
  6. Shame and conviction are not the same thing.
  7. Shame is a trump card of the religious. It feeds on our fears and insecurities.
  8. Real lasting change doesn’t come from shame
  9. …but from the vulnerability to say I need help.
  10. Vulnerability hangovers are a real thing, Brene Brown was not lying about that one.
  11. Vulnerability goes against our very culture, and the defenses we’ve store up to keep ourselves safe.
  12. Vulnerability keeps us present. Shutting down and disassociating are how we’ve dealt with pain. Vulnerability makes us face it.
  13. To be vulnerable requires a shift in belief systems—from surviving, to thriving.
  14. It requires risk…the risk that if you are open, you may get rejected, which means…
  15. It requires a heavy dose of courage and…
  16. ..It requires a powerful choice of free will.
  17. Vulnerability is the building block of intimacy.  Without it, no one can ever really be ‘known.’
  18.  Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.
  19. It doesn’t happen overnight.
  20. It takes practice and gets easier with time.
  21. It pushes us toward self love and kindness.
  22. And when we love ourselves, we can better love others.
  23. It isn’t for people pleasers.
  24. To be vulnerable necessitates that we are comfortable in who we are, despite others opinions.
  25. Which necessitates that we know who we are…
  26. ..Love who we are…
  27. And know whose we are…
  28. A life lived vulnerably is only possible when we know how unconditionally we are loved (by God)…
  29. …and that it’s okay to make mistakes…
  30. …and that our vulnerability is contagious. By giving ourselves permission to live this way, we give it to others, and that’s a beautiful thing.


Alex is a writer, photographer, and wife to her husband of 8 years. She is passionate about seeing people walk in their true identities and giftings, and is herself on her own journey to this. She believes in the power of people’s stories, in living authentically, and most importantly in have fun while doing it. She writes at journey-to-beauty.

John and Rachel Borland are here tomorrow. They are two of the heroes of my life and you are in for a massive treat!

Author: sarahmccarten

2 thoughts on “Thirty things I’ve learned about shame and vulnerability. A guest post by Alex Headrick

  1. “We’re all in bondage to bad definitions” I love that, Alex! So true.

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