It is extrememly challenging to allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to admit our weaknesses and insecurities, but it is waaayyy harder for men. Male culture has historically laughed in the face of anything that could be perceived as weakness; this culture starts on the playground before boys are even 10 years old. Boys are shamed if they cry, admit to fear or own any feelings at all except for anger. Men are allowed to feel and express anger and that is pretty much it.
When we decided to do these lists as a part of our look at vulnerability we left it up to the teachers to decide if they wanted to participate, but I did ask Brian specifically. Some of our insecurites are universal, but some relate more specifically to gender. For example, women almost always feel insecure about some aspect of their appearance and men can too, but men are much more likely to feel insecure about things like how sucessful they are than women (though women can feel insecure about it also). Brian's list captures several of the vulnerabilities that tend to show up mainly in men.
Thanks to Brian for jumping off the high dive... these are the real deal... the stuff that can keep him up at night. -Shannon
I'm trying really hard, but look, I still can't get my heels to the ground!
1. I still get nervous when I teach… Every time I teach. I don’t think fast on my feet, I don’t like being the center of attention and I can never tell if what I’m offering is useful to people
2. I love coming to work, I love interacting with people individually, but other than that I’m pretty anti-social. I feel bad about it, like there is something wrong with me.
3. I feel insecure about my lack of material possessions and success at this point in my life.
4. This one is embarrassing. I behave in the most irrational ways in fits of rage and anger. Don’t even ask me about it... It’s way too embarrassing.
5. I deflect positive attention and don’t like to take credit for my strengths. Even saying this feels like bragging to me.
6. Deep down I secretly think I’m an awful person. I fear death because if there is such thing as gates-of-entry to an afterlife I don’t want to be there for that accounting.
7. I worry that I’m too soft and trusting in the way I relate to people; at times, I get taken advantage of and not treated with respect.
8. Even after 20 years of practice I can’t get my heels to the ground in downward facing dog and I’m embarrassed to do my wheel pose in public.
9. When I was 12, I was carrying my shotgun and without thinking it through I impulsively shot and killed a bird in a tree (not hunting - it was random). I saw the bird fall and was immediately filled with horrible feelings of shame and guilt. Shannon tells me slmost every man and some women she’s known have a story like this and that it is some sort of universal learning experience, but to this day I still feel bad.
10. With all the yoga and meditation practice I’ve done I feel like I should be a cross between Gandhi and Mother Theresa, but in reality I’m still 100% me, bumbling along, failing and falling short in all the ways I always have.