I had an insightful conversation with a friend yesterday regarding what we can do when tragedy hits us. Specifically, we were discussing family members of people who suicided (by the way, I hate that word, and I wish we could come up with a different one.)

The answer—over and over again—is to share the tragedy and not allow the person’s suffering to be in vain. Yet, so many people are so ashamed and blame themselves for tragedies that have happened in their families. Often, they attempt to keep it a secret at all costs, which unfortunately contributes to more suffering and shame and further promotes the stigma.

Personally, I know we all mess up with our children; we’re all doing things the best way we know how, and we do our best as parents with the tools we have. Of course, we make many mistakes and sometimes horrible challenges happen to our children, and hopefully we can listen, redirect, own our failures, and course correct. Yet sometimes, through no fault of our own—and even if we feel in some way at fault, it serves no purpose to blame ourselves—our loved ones are in so much pain that they end their lives. Whether that’s from addiction, suicide, accidental or on purpose, the truth is, it’s irrelevant; what is relevant is they were in pain and society failed them—not their families. We, as a society somehow have given the message that we must hide our pain, our addictions, and our trauma, and that we must not be truly vulnerable.

How do we change that? How do we be truly and honestly vulnerable? You may be wondering what “truly and honestly vulnerable” means. Well, to get personal, I’m happy to share my story of depression and history of struggles. In truth, this makes others believe I’m being vulnerable, however my true vulnerability is when I’m willing to ask you for help. For me, there is nothing scarier than asking for help, because by doing so I’m telling you that I don’t have it all figured out.

I think we need to shift and take the risk and share what is scary to us and what is secret to us. I’m not suggesting we need to write a book or advertise our deepest, darkest secrets, yet we need to shed light on the shame and live by example. This allows us to show up as ourselves and nothing else, not faking vulnerability, yet being truly open, humble, and honest. That is the best example we can set.

This week, let’s acknowledge others when they are being vulnerable. Remind them that we don’t judge them as we encourage the shame to see the light of day, because it’s only when it sees the light of day that the shame becomes extinguished.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love



I want to remind all of you that you can hear more on my podcast, Showing Up. We have lots of amazing shows with interesting guests on a variety of personal development topics. It would be great if you could also rate 5 stars, review and subscribe to the show. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/showing-up-with-asher-gottesman/id1489856285y