In 2012 the shame researcher, Brene´ Brown published Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. I have watched Brown’s interviews with Oprah, her popular TEDTalks, and insightful animations.
Her style is down-home, intelligent, compassionate, and deeply personal. Those who can not tolerate seeing others full blown authentic, vulnerable or emotionally transparent, will feel uncomfortable with her work and writing. Yet, in a world full of loneliness, disconnection, misunderstanding, anger, discrimination, and judgment, her message provides a healing anecdote.
In Daring Greatly, Brown explores vulnerability including the courage, resilience, and willingness to experience it. She also explores our fear, avoidance, and shame around being vulnerable; plus the loss of our connections, integrity, and love by doing so.
In defining vulnerability Brown writes:
I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”
- Much of our North American culture is shame-based. We risk being shamed if and when we dare to show our vulnerability. We risk being shamed by even being ‘ordinary’. We blame and are blamed. We compare and are compared. There is always someone being and doing ‘better’. Then we stop listening and disengage from to one another.
- We repeatedly end up believing we are not ‘enough’, not good enough, not thin enough, or not smart enough.
- There are many myths about vulnerability. It is often perceived as a weakness. Yet, it takes courage to show our insecurities and mistakes, and sometimes our accomplishments.
- Other than sociopaths we all experience the emotion of shame.
- When we protect ourselves from being vulnerable we avoid it by perfectionism, numbing our emotions, seeing ourselves as a victim or other defensive tendencies.
- Brown recommends we embrace our vulnerabilities and build shame resilience as we parent, teach and lead.
Brene´ Brown Quotes:
- “When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary.”
- “I know the yearning to believe that what I’m doing matters and how easy it is to confuse that with the drive to be extraordinary.”
- “The opposite of scarcity is enough, or what I call Wholeheartedness.”
- “Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable.”
- “We have confused feeling with failing and emotions with liabilities.”
- “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
- “My vulnerability prayer . . . Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”
- “We need to feel trust to be vulnerable and we need to be vulnerable in order to trust.”
- “Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.”
- “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
- “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”
- “Guilt = I did something bad. Shame = I am bad.”
- “Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorder, and bullying.”
- “The act of not discussing a traumatic event or confiding it to another person could be more damaging than the actual event.”
- “Joy comes to us in moments—ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary … Be grateful for what you have. . . Don’t squander joy.”
- “We can’t give people what we don’t have. Who we are matters immeasurably more than what we know or who we want to be.”
May some of Brene´Brown’s wisdom help you know the value of vulnerability and Daring Greatly!
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Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.