Vulnerability. Not weakness.
Stories are data with a soul. Researcher and storyteller Brene’ Brown has taken the time to take a deep hard look at shame and vulnerability.
She believes that ‘connection’ is neurobiologically why we are here.
Shame is fear of disconnection or not feeling like you are worthy of connection. For example, not good enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, not rich enough and so on. All experiences of excruciating vulnerability.
After 6 years of researching ‘Shame’ she took a closer at a sub-group of individuals with ‘Worthiness’, people with a strong sense of love and belonging who believe they are worthy of love and belonging. She called them ‘Wholehearted’. This group had a few remarkable traits:
- Courage – to be imperfect
- Compassion – ability to be kind to themselves and others
- Connection – ability to give up the idea of perfection
They fully embraced their vulnerability. They believed that vulnerability makes them beautiful. They were willing to reach out their hand first, to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. It was not comfortable but they did it anyway.
Vulnerability is also the birthplace of tenderness, belonging, love and joy.
What makes us vulnerable?
The simplest things like asking for help, waiting for the doc to call back, initiating sex, loosing a job, asking someone out on a date and many more.
Why do we struggle with vulnerability?
The uncertainty is too uncomfortable. So we numb it.
At present, we are most highly addicted, medicated and obese populace ever.
We can’t selectively numb feelings.
When we numb vulnerability we also numb joy and connection.
The ways in which we deal with our discomfort with vulnerability are:
- We make everything uncertain, certain, eg- religion.
- We Blame- a way to discharge pain and discomfort.
- We Perfect – most dangerously our children.
- We pretend – like what we are doing doesn’t have an effect on people.
We need to let ourselves be seen.
To love with our whole hearts even if we are unsure.
To practice Gratitude despite the uncertainty because our vulnerability means we are alive.
Lean into joy and believe – I am enough.
That enables us to be kinder and gentler to the people around us and to ourselves.