Vulnerability is GOOD.
This blog is a response to the following TED talk:
I finally listened to Brene Brown’s “Power of Vulnerability” and LOVED IT! Her talk, her findings, and her advice moved me. As I listened to her I was thinking why did I wait all whole year to listen to this? (well because I don’t like being on the computer and the thought of listening to someone on it did not seem fun) but I also believe that everything happens for a reason, and timing is everything. So, I feel the real cosmic reason it took me a year to take the time to listen to this TedTalk is because I needed to hear now, at this time in my life for it to resonate in me. I have been taking tango classes, and have been feeling vulnerable along with shame, but after listening to Brown, I want to embrace my vulnerability and allow myself to feel joy, worthiness, and gratitude-and after my third class Wednesday night I did!
Just to recap…Brene Brown is a “research story teller” and while pursuing her doctorate in Social Work wanted to explore the power of vulnerability. Brown states that her “research changed her perception on everything in life.” She noticed that while interviewing people they would almost always focus on the negative, the shame of their life. “When we ask about love, people share heartbreak, when we ask people about belonging they share awful experiences of exclusion and when we ask people about connection they talk about disconnection…” I thought of my experience at school when I run my “Girls Circle” groups and when we discuss “feeling included/excluded”. Year after year, group after group, the girls will spend most of the session rehashing old feelings and experiences about all the times they were excluded, and dismiss the times they felt included. It always bewildered me why the girls would stay focused on the negative, even when I brought it to their attention, but hearing about Brown’s interviews this is common in our society, and it’s about shame and vulnerability and a sense of feeling “not good enough”.
Shame is understood as “fear of disconnection”, the thought of there is something about me that I am not worthy of connection, this is universal. Brown states that “shame and fear are excruciating vulnerability”. Most people feel unworthy with negative thoughts of “ I’m not good enough, I’m not thin enough, pretty enough…” yet “the ability to feel connected- neurobiologicallly that is how we are wired-is why we are here”. I thought of the experience I was having with tango. I was completely vulnerable. I was in a place of complete helplessness because I knew nothing about the dance, complete exposure because I was inches away from my partner, and was susceptible to the emotional connection I was trying to have, or lack thereof, with myself and partner. I left feeling shame, fear, and had no self-worth. I thought, “I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy to be in this class” and most likely disconnected myself from each partner. I did exactly what Brown had noticed most people do. When I told people I was taking tango classes-and they always were excited and impressed-I immediately dismissed then by saying how bad I am at it. However, after writing about my experience on my last blog, and talking with my “sangha family” about their experiences with tango, I felt much better and had a different attitude about tango and being vulnerable. And now, listening to this wonderful TedTalk, I am motivated and inspired even more to feel connected and know I belong!
What Brown had noticed through her research was that the people who seemed content with their lives, no matter how chaotic it may be, were the individuals who embraced their vulnerability. They all had “a strong sense of worthiness, a strong sense of love and belonging” they believed they are worthy of love and belonging. “What they had in common was courage, to be imperfect, compassion to be kind to themselves first, then to others…and they let go of who they thought they should be to be, to who they were.” I love that quote! They believed what made them vulnerable made them beautiful and had a willingness to do something where they are no guarantees. How empowering! This is how I want to live my life because there are never any guarantees; the imperfect is always beautiful.
I listened to Brown’s talk hours before my third tango class. Not to be inspired, because I had no idea what it was about, but because I didn’t feel like reading anything. As I said earlier, I believe I was meant to hear it. I believe the universe was reaching out to me, knowing how I have been treating myself, and wanted to allow me to see that being vulnerable is beautiful. That being vulnerable leads to joy, gratitude, and a sense of love and belonging. And it worked! My third class was a much better experience. My attitude was positive, I was kind to myself, and connected to my partners. I allowed myself to be okay with my vulnerability and to find joy and gratitude with it. It was a great night!
“You are worthy of love and belonging, let ourselves be seen, to love with our whole hearts even with no guarantee, practice gratitude and joy, and believe I am enough.” ~Brene Brown