Friday, August 9, 2013

Ted Talks: Brené Brown & The Power of Vulnerability

"Our purpose here is to get over the illusion of our separateness." Thich Nhat Han

I stumbled upon Brené Brown's TED Talk almost a year ago. I was so blown away by the words coming out of this brave, beautiful woman. Everything she was talking about deeply resonated in every fiber of my being. So of course, I watched the video three more times, taking notes, and trying to break down and implement everything she so eloquently talks about.

Brené is a vulnerability "researcher-storyteller". She has been studying the effects of shame and vulnerability for over ten years.  Her 2010 TED Talk, given to a "small" audience of 500, soon became a phenomenon (over 4 million people have watched it since). She seemed to hit a deep and profound nerve of the American psyche. Her research is vital to healing of our individual selves and the world we share with billions of others. When we seek to be vulnerable, the world opens the door to an abundance of opportunity, joy, love, compassion, and freedom. 

Using quotes from the three separate talks below, I wanted to share with you some of the most profound moments of her talks. Brené says we can't talk about vulnerability without first talking about shame. Shame is "a focus on self". Shame lives and breathes in the world of "I am not enough." It's referred to by Jungian Psychologists as the "Swampland of the Soul". Shame and Fear are ONLY ever overcome by a willingness to surrender to a sense of "extreme vulnerability". We must be willing "to lean in to the discomfort" to really be able to free ourselves from shame and fear. Her lifelong research as uncovered that people with a "strong sense of love and belonging, believe they are worthy of love and belonging". It only takes the belief that YOU are WORTHY. That is profoundly empowering. 

Brené talks about the importance of realizing that "vulnerability is NOT weakness. It's emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty, and it's the MOST ACCURATE measurement of COURAGE." She discovered, combing through years of  interviews with hundreds of different people, that the people living from a place of vulnerability all had one very important thing in common, "wholeheartedness". 

Brené categorizes wholeheartness using three unifying parts:  

1. Courage: to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart, to be imperfect
2. Compassion: to be kind to yourself first and then radiate that to others
3. Connection: as a result of authenticity, to fully embracing vulnerability by believing that failure is fundamental to your life and happiness. 

She consistently emphasizes that, "vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love." Furthermore, she says, "you cannot selectively numb your emotions: when we numb, we numb everything." So when you shut out shame and fear, you also shut out joy, happiness, gratitude! It's a all for one and one for all proposition. When shame and fear rule our lives, we are unable and unwilling to feel and accept all of the things in our lives that are a source of happiness! She says, "We make the uncertain, certain. We perfect. We pretend that what we do doesn't have an effect on other people," and this disconnection from ourselves and each other is what fuels our world. She suggests that when we "let ourselves be seen, deeply. to love with our whole hearts, even when there is no guarantee, practice gratitude and joy, and believe that we are enough, then we stop screaming and stop listening", and radical and profound transformation begins to take place.

2010 Ted Talk on Vulnerability

  2012 Ted Talk about Shame

 Brené and the amazing Jonathan Fields, from The Good Life Project talking about Vulnerability

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