How The Power of Vulnerability Changed My Life

Hello Everyone! Welcome to the ALL NEW Mary Giuliani Blog!

I am so excited to share with you my very first blog post on my brand new website!   Launching a new blog and website is a major milestone for me since up until recently I have felt extremely uncomfortable to post anything online that required me to be emotionally vulnerable. Therefore taking the risk of being criticized or ridiculed in a public forum by sharing my story or my opinion was a risk I simply wasn’t willing to take. That is until now.

I have been a passionate student of spiritual and personal growth for over 25 years and have wanted to share my story and my voice with the world.  However, I still found it extremely uncomfortable to put my vulnerable self out there unless I knew I would be met with empathy and compassion.

As I am sure, anyone who spends any time online, would attest, mean spirited comments are not uncommon. Therefore, it became apparent that I would need to do some major internal work before I embarked on this journey.   I discovered that I would need to develop a safe support system, self-compassion, self-acceptance and letting go of being attached to the good opinion of others if I was going to put myself out there.

There were many years of starts and stops  where I attempted to start a blog, a book or a website and was never quite able to get it off the ground.   Then about two years ago I was introduced to a teacher that would help me gain the courage to finally be true to myself and share my voice with the world.   I had no idea what a quantum leap I was about to take when I found research professor and social scientist, Dr. Brene Brown.

I was initially introduced to Brene about two years ago on Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul Sunday program.  Oprah was interviewing Brene about her book “Daring Greatly”.  Brene shared about how she initially began researching the concept of “human connection” to discover all the different ways connection shows up between people.

What she found is that many of her research participants not only shared what made them feel connected to others, but also what made them feel disconnected. It was then she discovered that shame was the driving force that caused people to feel like they weren’t enough, they didn’t belong, and ultimately caused them to feel painfully disconnected from others.

She then decided to change her research from focusing on human connection to focusing on vulnerability and shame. The reason she made this switch is since she found that when we develop the resilience to not getting so paralyzed by shame, we can then gain the courage to be vulnerable.  When we have developed the ability to be vulnerable with others, we then have the ability for genuine connection.

I was so blown away by how much I related to what she shared about how shame shuts down our ability to be vulnerable, and most importantly our ability to have close, deep, connected relationships. No other author or speaker that I had read (and believe me, I have read hundreds of personal development books) or heard was talking about shame and how damaging it is to people and relationships.  I never understood how the power of vulnerability can transform and deepen relationships until I found Brene Brown.

She also talked about the connection between the unrealistic or even unattainable cultural, religious and family expectations that are put on us as women.   And how they needlessly cause us to feel shame about who we are when we don’t measure up to what these expectations are.

She shared that according to her research 90% of women have shame about their bodies.  She attributed this to how bombarded we are in our culture with literally unattainable, Photoshopped versions of what our bodies should look like if we want to be attractive, belong or even be loved!

Feeling vulnerable to being judged or shamed is extremely uncomfortable and is exactly what had stopped or severely compromised me for decades in practically every area of my life!  It sent me into a self-protection mode.  I, like so many others, ended up hiding out, playing small, or settling in an attempt to protect myself from being seen and therefore possibly judged or shamed for who I was.  For many years, I didn’t even realize that this was the cause of why I was experiencing so much struggle in finding clarity about my life’s work.

When I first started listening to Brene Brown, it felt so good to know that I wasn’t alone in feeling uncomfortable with being judged.  It also felt so good to know that I wasn’t alone in feeling shame or just fearing being shamed if I risked exposing my vulnerable self.  What I know now is that experiencing shame is just part of the human condition. It’s universal, we all experience it to some degree or another, and it doesn’t make us bad or unlovable it just means that we are human.

Brene Brown also talks about how shame is something that doesn’t entirely go away, however when you follow the suggested practices in her books, you develop what she refers to as “shame resilience”.  Becoming shame resilient means that you bounce back much more quickly when feelings of shame get triggered, and it no longer stops you from risking being vulnerable or being true to your authentic self.

Another issue Brene discusses is that even though we all have issues being uncomfortable with being vulnerable due to fearing being judged or shamed, most people have too much discomfort to be even willing to talk about their shame issues.   The reason being is even just talking about shame can cause people to feel shame.

The problem is when we aren’t willing to talk about our shame, we end up feeling alone and like we may be the only one who feels this bad about who we are.  Since shame thrives and grows with secrecy, hiding our shame and not talking about it makes it grow.   This is one of many reasons I am so glad Brene Brown has opened the doors to this conversation about shame and the power of vulnerability to help heal it.  She helps us know that we are not alone in our shame and shows us how to thrive by embracing vulnerability which helps us to become more shame resilient.

Brene Brown’s books have inspired me to practice courage, compassion, and connection.  I am so grateful and thrilled to say that as a result of studying and practicing all of these wonderful teachings over the past several years, I have finally gained the courage to be true to myself and am finally sharing my authentic voice with the world!

Compared to where I was before studying Brene Brown’s teachings, my life is practically unrecognizable!   I have never been truer to myself than I am today. I also have never had the courage to be so vulnerable and open about sharing who I am with the world.  It has been one of the most liberating experiences of my life!

For example, in August I launched a monthly Daring Greatly Women’s Sacred Circle based on Brene Brown’s work to help other women experience the same type of transformation as I have.  Also, I just launched this very website that you are on   I am also going to be a regular blogger where I will be writing posts related to personal growth and transformation right here on my blog.  Being this open and vulnerable would have never happened prior to my doing this amazing work with the help of Brene Brown’s teachings!

It feels so good to be a living testament that it is never too late to be true to yourself and create a life you love!

You just have to be willing to receive the support you need to take your life to the next level.

Thanks for taking this journey with me!


P.S. If you want to receive more posts like this,  plus FREE tips to create a life you love, be sure to sign up for my FREE newsletter!

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About the author

Mary Giuliani has a 25-year background as a Master Certified Coach, and is a keynote speaker, author, and seminar leader specializing in supporting survivors in healing from complex trauma and achieving long-term recovery with food, weight, and substances. She has a passion for supporting survivors in learning how to connect with themselves and others in healthy, fulfilling relationships and how to turn their pain into power and purpose.

Click here to learn more.


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4 Responses

  1. I’m so proud of you! Your website is beautiful and what a great first blog post! You go girl!!! You’ve so got this!

  2. Congratulations Mary on a beautiful website and offering so many options for self growth.
    You are a terrific person and professional and I know you will help many people along the way!

    1. Karyn, you have made such a profound difference in my life. Thanks so much for affirming me and sharing so much of your wisdom, love and kindness, it has made all the difference in the world! Mary

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Mary Giuliani
Complex Trauma & Resilience Coach

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