Are you afraid to wear or use color in your home? If so, you could be chromavulnerable. I coined this term because this feeling vulnerable to wearing (or not wearing) color within our social realms is real.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself uttering one or all of the following…
“If I looked good in yellow, I’d wear it.”
“If I looked good without makeup, I’d go natural.”
“If I felt safe in not being judged as old, I’d go gray.”
According to Brené Brown, researcher on vulnerability and shame, most of us protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable by “foreboding joy” as she discusses in her book, Daring Greatly. “Foreboding joy” is waiting for the other shoe to drop when good things happen to us…and by doing so we don’t enjoy that moment.
Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. And according to Brown, the “primary trigger for women, in terms of its power and universality, is… how we look.”
Having worked with thousands of women, I know this first-hand to be true. Ask any woman who always wears makeup if she would walk out of the house without and it puts her in an uncomfortable position.
But it goes even beyond that when it comes to wearing color.
From beyond Chromaphobia to Chromavulnerability
Chromaphobia is the fear of color. Many people that are chromavulnerable LOVE color, but they are afraid to wear it or use it in their homes. And in certain situations such as makeup and hair color, many people are afraid to stop wearing/using color.
We feel safe in black because it acts as our amour…everyone wears it so we tend to ‘disappear’ (happily?) in the sea of other people wearing black.
We fear wearing color, especially yellow or white because we fear we will draw attention and will be “looked at.”
It’s a double-edged sword. We fear wearing color and yet we also fear not using it like coloring our hair, for example.
We feel safe coloring our hair and hiding the grays because how we look matters when it comes to alleviating the emotional exposure of looking old.
As an aside: When did being old get a bad rap? How does experience, wisdom and coming into your own stand for feeble, frail and gray? To me, it’s completely opposite and empowering.
I can’t tell you how many times I’m told, “Well, IF my hair looked like yours, I’d quit coloring.”
"If" is foreboding joy; that word puts a stop to enjoying anything.
The pathway to true confidence and authenticity
When I was considering growing out my gray, it took a lot of conversations and soul-searching to take the plunge. The feeling of foreboding joy was real during this time and the growing-out phase was hell…only my dog recognized me.
But soon I turned a corner. The immediate freedom I felt and the growing confidence that ensued was so transformative because I was finally embracing my true inner and outer beauty. My true colors brought me joy and confidence!
Achieving that joyful, color glow
Every aspect of our beauty makes us vulnerable. And although all parts of our outer beauty can be transformed by color, we don’t realize how our authentic beauty comes through in connection with our inner colors.
What scares us about this chromavulnerability is that it’s asking us to be authentic and real. And contrary to what we think, it’s not scary; it’s JOYful.
It is the JOY of color that transforms us and guides us to embrace our authentic beauty.
I see it time and time again when a women has her own personal colors pulled for her that illuminate her holistically. It’s like stepping through the looking glass of what we think is going to be bad (that foreboding joy) and realizing that the world is much more colorful and beautiful when we fully embrace our true colors. That glow is like none other.