lundi, avril 04, 2011

the power of vulnerability

Over the years, I've realized that I experience the most joy when I make myself the most vulnerable, when I decide to choose fearlessness and take the biggest chance in hopes of an even greater reward. To be sure, sorrow, fear, and painful disappointment have been part of that equation. But joy beyond words has also been the result.

Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, and love by analyzing vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Her talk on the power of vulnerability blew me away.

I've captured just a few of the things she said, but there is so much more in the talk. Enjoy. And be vulnerable.

"Maybe stories are just data with a soul, you know, and maybe I'm just a storyteller."

"When you ask people about love, they tell you about heartbreak. When you ask people about belonging, they'll tell you about their most excruciating experiences of being excluded. When I asked people about connection, the stories they told me were about disconnection."

"Courage -- the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart."
"They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were."
"They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful."

"Here's the thing -- I'm struggling. I know that vulnerability is kind of the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness. But it appears that it is also the birthplace of joy,of creativity, of belonging, of love."

You know how there are people who when they realize that vulnerability and tenderness are kinda important, they surrender and walk into it?
A) That's not me. And B) I don't even hang out with people like that.

Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty. I'm right, you're wrong, shut up. That's it.

This is what politics looks like today. There's no discourse anymore, There's no conversation.. There's just blame. You know how blame is described int he research? A way to discharge pain and discomfort.

We perfect, most dangerously, our children. Let me tell you what we think about children. They’re hard-wired for struggle when they get here. When you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, “look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect and make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by the seventh grade.” That's not our job. Our job is to look and say, “you know what? You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that and we’ll end the problems we see today.

But there’s another way, and I’ll leave you with this. This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee; to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ Just to be able to stop and instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say ‘I’m just so grateful. Because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’ And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place that says ‘I am enough’ then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”

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