Today I watched one of the most inspiring and uplifting TED Talks I have ever watched. The speaker is Brené Brown the video is called “The Power of Vulnerability”.TED Talks The Power of Vulnerability . Brown has spent her academic career in social work and research, when I started this video I thought it would be a good way to learn how to connect with students who may have some conflicts in their home lives. What I didn’t expect was how much this video was going to impact me. Isn’t it funny how a twenty minute video can change the way you pensive a topic?
Connections: The literal meaning and purpose to life as a human. Connections are why we are on this earth, and that is a biological fact. Brown did a lot of research on this topic and countless interviews, and from this she realized something. When ever she asked people to talk about there experiences with love they would describe heartbreak. With belonging she got stories of people being un-included and left out, and when asking about connections, she got stories of huge disconnect. Why do people feel disconnect? The answer is that people feel shame. Feeling shame is natural of human emotions, and when we feel shameful we don’t want anyone to see that shame for fear that we will no longer be worthy of connection.
This fear of feeling and showing shame is what brings up our feelings of vulnerability. We can pinpoint the feeling of shame to a feeling of worthlessness. Feeling worthy comes from a sense of belonging and love. Brown made the connection that people who have a strong sense of worth, believe they are worthy of belonging and love. She called this group of people whole hearted people, and there are several components that go along with being a whole hearted person:
Courage is the ability to be you with your whole heart, being able to accept the true you that you see in your heart. Compassion comes from within. Being able to be kind to yourself needs to happen before being kind to others does. If you are unkind to yourself polluting your inner speech with personal negativity it will reflect on the outside to others. Connecting to yourself is the ability to let go of that person you have been told you should be and instead just be who you really are. Finally vulnerability. This is something that makes humans beautiful creatures and it is necessary to live. To quote a famous ice queen, just LET IT GO! Vulnerability is the ability to stop controlling and predicting and just let it happen.
Vulnerability is at the core of shame, fear, and our struggle for worthiness, but it is also the birthplace for joy, creativity, belonging, and love. Fire and ice, Yin and Yang, heaven and hell, peas and carrots, however you want to look at it vulnerability is the center of human emotion spreading out over an entire spectrum of existence. So why do we struggle with it so bad to the point of letting it break us? We numb our lives with drugs, alcohol, overeating, and debt. The problem with numbing the bad feelings is that it numbs the good feelings too turning the numbing device into a cycle, creating an addiction. We make the uncertain certain. We blame our anger and discomfort on others shutting down any ideas or beliefs we don’t understand creating anger and hate. We perfect. Humans are in a constant struggle with the vastly gross idea of perfection whether it be ourselves, other people around us, or most sadly our children. We need to learn to love the imperfections. Lastly, we pretend. We blind ourselves to the destruction and deception around us. We pretend that our actions have no effect on others.
How do we fix this problem?
Let ourselves be seen. Not just physically, but on a deeper lever Let yourself shine through, the real you. Love with our whole hearts, we have to stop holding back because of what we think we know about relationships and life. Practice gratitude and joy. Be overly grateful for the little things and take joy in the small aspects of life. For lack of a better phrase, stop to smell the roses. The final way to except vulnerability for the better, and the most important in my opinion, tell yourself this: “I am enough.” Better yet, shout it from the middle of a crowd or the tallest building. I AM ENOUGH! Be happy with who you are and what you are capable of.