The power of vulnerability by Brené Brown

We live based of connection.  Our feeling is based of connection.

The hard part of the one thing that keeps us out of connection is our fear that we’re not worthy of connection

During her research, she found two types of people:

  • People who really have a deep sense of worthiness.
  • People who are always wondering if they’re good enough.

There was only one variable that separated these people: the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging, they believe they’re worthy.

These whole-hearted people had three characteristics:

  1. Courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to othersbecause, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.
  2. Willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection.
  3. Fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor did they really talk about it being excruciating — as I had heard it earlier in the shame interviewing.They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say, “I love you” first … the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees the willingness to breathe through waiting for the doctor to call after your mammogram. They’re willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.

People normally try to avoid vulnerability or pain by numbing emotions, but unfortunately you cannot selectively numb emotion.  You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing all other emotions including joy, gratitude and happiness. Numbing emotions make us feel miserable, thus start looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel more vulnerable. The more afraid we are, the more vulnerable we are, the more afraid we are. All this makes dangerous cycle.

We may start blaming others.  “Blame” is described in the research “A way to discharge pain and discomfort“.

When you hold a perfect little baby in your hand, our job is not to say, “Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect — make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh.” That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say,“You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.  Let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee.

The most important, is to know that we’re enough. When we know “I’m enough”, we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Vulnerability is a place of

  • Fear
  • Self-doubt
  • comparison
  • anxiety
  • uncertainty
  • grief

and you may armor up and shut yourself off.

But please know that Vulnerability is also a birth place of

  • Love
  • Belonging
  • Joy
  • Trust
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Innovation

Without vulnerability, you can not create.

When you show yourself in arena, 3 seats are always taken:

  • shame
  • scarcity
  • comparison

Simply expect these people, reserve seats for these, and keep moving on.