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The power of vulnerability

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

On the brink of cold winter, let’s make time for self-care in our busy lives. These nurturing moments can have many forms, depending on what you love to do and what makes you feel cared for.

For me, it is sitting down with a delicious cup of coffee and an inspiring book.

I am reading a New York Times bestseller and TED sensation by Brené Brown about why vulnerability is the key to living more fully.

Brené Brown was a social worker for 10 years. During this time, she realized that connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The ability to feel connected is wired into us—it's why we’re here.

When she was writing her doctorate, she wanted to research how connections work and create a roadmap for everyone to understand it better. But very quickly she ran into this unnamed thing that absolutely unravelled connections, and it turned out to be shame.

Shame is easily understood as the fear of disconnection: Is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, I won't be worthy of connection?

The thing that underpinned this was vulnerability. For connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen. But really seen. With the good and the bad.

And what separates the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who struggle for it? The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. They have one thing in common and that is courage.

The original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language, is from the Latin word "cor," meaning "heart," and the original meaning was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

And these folks, very simply, had the courage to be imperfect.

They had strong connections – as a result of authenticity.

They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. 

And they believed that being vulnerable is necessary.

What came up from this research, was that vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it’s also the birthplace of joy, belonging, and love.

The problem is that we cannot selectively numb emotions. If we decide to numb grief, shame, and fear, it means simultaneously we will numb joy, gratitude, and happiness.

What we do in today’s society is that we strive to appear PERFECT. But it doesn’t work. To create real connections, we need to be authentic.

Dr Brené Brown in her powerful vision inspires us to rethink vulnerability and dispels the widely accepted myth that it is a weakness. She argues that vulnerability is in fact a strength and challenges us to embrace our imperfections, be authentic, and tell the stories of who we are with our whole hearts. Watch the TED talk here.

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