The Power of Vulnerability

Recently I had the pleasure of watching yet another TED presentation – for those of you who read my blogs regularly, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m quite a fan.  This time the speaker who inspired me was Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  A fascinating woman and entertaining speaker, Brené has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.

Sharing her own personal experiences of vulnerability Brené’s light hearted yet powerful presentation was worth every moment of the twenty minutes it took to watch. I’m apparently not alone in my appreciation of the wisdom she shares, as more than a quarter million people have viewed the video through YouTube at a rate of about 10,000 views per week.

Brené is unquestionably a leader in the field of positive psychology and contributes to greater understanding of happiness and what she calls “whole-hearted living.” Backed by extensive research including thousands of hours interviewing people about topics ranging from compassion, love, and belonging, Brené is able to provide deep insight into the human spirit and our deep seated need to be connected with one another.

I encourage you to take the time to watch Brené’s presentation – here are some of the points that resonated most strongly with me:

  • Connection with one another brings deeper purpose and meaning to our lives; we are essentially wired for connection.
  • It is very human to fear not being good enough – Brené argues that many of us unconsciously or otherwise fear not being worthy of connection.
  • To be fully connected we need to be fully seen – to be seen we must be willing to be vulnerable.
  • Our willingness to be vulnerable is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love.
  • Those who are willing to be vulnerable have the courage to be imperfect; to tell the story of who they really are, to be authentic and let go of who they think they should be.
  • Having a strong sense of worthiness allows us to be compassionate first to ourselves and then others.  Brené argues that without self-love we can’t practice compassion with other people.   A topic close to my heart and one I explore in my book The Corporate Dojo.
  • Those of us who live whole-heartedly embrace vulnerability and show that while unquestionably uncomfortable it is both fundamental and necessary to living fulfilling lives
  • Many of us numb our sense of vulnerability.  However we can’t pick and choose which emotions we numb therefore when we numb negative emotion, we also numb joy, gratitude, and happiness.

In summing up her advice for how to live a fulfilling life Brené encourages us all to:

  • Let ourselves be seen – deeply seen
  • Love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee
  • Practice gratitude and joy
  • Believe that we are enough
  • Be kinder and gentler to ourselves and others around us

One thought on “The Power of Vulnerability

  1. Pingback: Daring Greatly… More wisdom from Brene Brown | Karen Gately

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