Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brene Brown on Understanding Vulnerability

. . . Connection is why we're here. . . it's what gives
purpose and meaning to our lives. . . .

. . . Shame is the fear of disconnection. . . What underpins
shame . . . is excruciating vulnerability, this idea that in order
for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves
to be seen, really seen. . . .

. . . The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging
believe they're worthy of love and belonging. . . .

Brene Brown, Ph.D., researches human connection and, in particular, the struggles we have with being vulnerable. In her often funny and fully engaging TED talk (see the timeless 2010 video below), she shares her insights about the many years she has spent trying to understand what gives us "the courage to be imperfect" so that we can be who we are. 

Her research, Brown says, indicates that we struggle with vulnerability because:

✦ "We numb vulnerability. We live in a vulnerable world. One of the ways we deal with it is we numb it. You cannot selectively numb emotion. When we numb [hard feelings], we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and we feel vulnerable. . . One of the things we need to think about is why and how we numb."

✦ "We make everything that's uncertain certain. . . The more afraid we are the more afraid we are."

✦ "We perfect. But [seeking perfection] doesn't work."

✦ "We pretend that what we do doesn't have an effect on people."

Vulnerability, Brown explains, is "the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness" but "it appears [that] it is also the birthplace of joy and creativity, of belonging, of love" that encompasses "our whole hearts." Those who embrace their vulnerability believe that "what [makes] them vulnerable [makes] them beautiful." They find connection, without worrying about whether their relationships will work out, "as a result of authenticity." Vulnerability, she emphasizes, allows us to be "deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even when there's no guarantee; to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror; to be believe that we're enough . . . ."


Brene Brown's Blog, Ordinary Courage

Brene Brown on FaceBook and Twitter

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change: Brene Brown at TED2012", TED Blog, March 2, 2012


Kathleen said...

Oh, yes! Hits the spot today. Fits with stuff I have been pondering. Describes the world I see, too. You can see why people want to numb and/or protect themselves, and have compassion for that, even as you wish they/we would embrace the vulnerability, which is surely shared! Yes? Then we'd be embracing each other.

Beverly Diehl said...

Love Brene Brown and her TED talks.

Being perfect - or hung up to trying to be, to be invulnerable - just gets in the way of being creative. Creativity is all about trying new things, many of which will not work out, and might make us look foolish. And so what?

S. Etole said...

Great challenge in these thoughts ... and freedom.