Brené Brown’s TED talk: The Power of Vulnerability | Die Macht der Verletzlichkeit | la Puissance de Vulnérabilité

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Regarding the theme of happiness, I was introduced by my sister to Brené Brown’s TED talk: The Power of Vulnerability. It’s worth listening to.

Brown mentions ‘leaning into’ the discomfort of (any task you’re about to work on); which sounds like an echo of Sheryl Sandberg’s (Google/Facebook) book and movement “Lean In”. I don’t know who inspired who.

Brené talks of her interest in expanding perception. She realizes that the common component in the human condition is the need to feel a sense of connection. That’s why we are here and what gives us purpose and meaning in our lives.

In her research, she discovered that many people point to all the places in their lives where they feel a lack of connection, often honing into the negative feedback more than the positive. The author recalls an interview in which her interviewer pointed out the one area (among numerous positive comments) where she was the weakest (euphemistically, calling it an opportunity for growth), which stood out much more than the positive points.

Brown mentions that the one unnamed thing that unravels this connection, is shame = the fear of disconnection.

“I’m not good enough, “I’m not blank enough”

In many cases, it is a person’s fear of “allowing themselves to be seen”. Shame boils down to not feeling worthy.

She found that those people who expressed happiness and joy, felt a sense of worthiness and strong sense of love and belonging. And that in order to have this, the individual must “believe” that they are worthy of love and belonging.

What keeps us out of connection, is our fear that we’re not worthy.

In her study, Brené first isolated those who feel worthiness and a sense of connection, labeling them the “whole heartedness” group.
courage is the latin word coeur = heart

They exhibit a sense of courage and bravery, demonstrating

1. the courage to be ‘imperfect’
2. compassion; first for themselves, then for others
3. feel connection as a result of authenticity; they can let go of who they should be, in order to be who they are
4. they are able to fully embrace vulnerability; to be real is to be vulnerable

They have the willingness to say “i love you” first, willingness to do something even if there are no guarantees, to invest in things even if there is no assuredness that there will be a positive result.

Brené went to a therapist as she realized that she always wanted and needed to be in control, and now was learning that the people who are the happiest, are those who are able to let go of their need to have control. She had a ‘breakdown’, which her therapist called a ‘spiritual awakening’.

Brown isolated the one ingredient that all of these people who are happy share, their willingness to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability, at its core (means shame, fear and struggle for worthiness) yet at the same time it is the birthplace of joy, creativity, love and belonging.

We live in a vulnerable world; the most in debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohorts in U.S. History.

Our response is to numb ourselves to avoid feeling vulnerable and uncertain, yet, as she points out, “You can’t ‘selectively’ numb emotions.” You can’t decide that you don’t want to feel the feelings of fear, uncertainty, unworthiness, shame … without precluding your ability to feel the pleasant ones i.e. joy, happiness, gratitude. So by attempting to numb ourselves of the negative emotions by ‘drinking alcohol, eating or ingesting something else to lighten our mood’ we also are numbing ourselves to the positive ones.

She points out where we all go wrong in striving to erase our vulnerability.

We attempt to make everything that is uncertain, certain.
The more vulnerable we are and try to suppress it, the more afraid we are.
The definition of blame is to discharge pain and discomfort.
Our job is not to make our kids ‘perfect’, but to give our kids the sense that they are worthy of love and belonging, no matter what they ‘achieve’.
We pretend that what we do doesn’t have an affect on other people or an impact, yet we need to be accountable for our actions (as an individual, a corporation…) and in being authentic and real, we have the opportunity to say we are sorry, and that we’ll fix it…

Her recipe towards being happy and allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable are:

to let ourselves be seen; to be authentic, to be deeply seen and vulnerable
to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee
to practice gratitude and joy, particularly in those moments of terror, instead of making it into more of a catastrophe
to believe that you are enough, because when we stop screaming, we will start listening; and subsequently kinder and gentler to ourselves and others

practice_gratitude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown also talks about the Power of Empathy, you can view the talk below.

Dr. Brené Brown on the Power of Empathy

Dr. Brené Brown on the Power of Empathy

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About carolkeiter
Aspiring writer, artist, musician and composer who was born and raised in the United States and has resided in several European countries. Communication is my forte; both through using various tools and in approaching people of divers backgrounds to gather information. Speak conversational - advanced intermediate - French, German and Spanish. Love interacting with people in cultural centers as much as going to remote places to learn more about the different creatures that share our planet. Love of the outdoors and of a variety of outdoor sports. Driven to learn and expand my own consciousness and understanding through curiosity and love of life. Creative skills merge with analytical ones, leading to an interest in a myriad of topics; ranging from politics, economics, science to environmental. Motivated to use my art, music and writing to support and educate people towards humane practices that support and respect all of life, including practices supporting a healthy planet.

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