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Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

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My TED talk Synopsis:

In her TED talk, Dr. Brené Brown explores the "dirty" concepts surrounding vulnerability and shame and how they act as obstacles in one's pursuit of true happiness.  This 20-minute video helped me discover that despite naturally wanting to numb my emotions, hide things I am ashamed of, and fear what others might think if they knew my secrets, it is worth it to be authentic and vulnerable.  By living with my whole heart, I can experience true happiness and enjoy real connections with others.

My personal notes from the talk:
  • What keeps me from having real connections with others?
    • Fear and Shame - The fear of not being connected with people.
    • "Is there something about me, if others were to see it, I would feel unworthy of connection?  Why should I feel that way?  No one like Mr. Perfect; he makes people uncomfortable."
  • Three truths about SHAME:
    • Fear is universal.  We all feel it.
    • The only people who don't experience shame have no capacity for human empathy nor connection. (a.k.a psycho/sociopaths)
    • Principle: No one wants to talk about shame, and the less you talk about it, the more you have it.
      • The key to unhappiness is to fear, hide, and not talk about the things that cause our unhappiness.
  • Who here is a "perfectionist?"
    • Is that easier to own than saying, "I have issues with shame."
    • Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.
  • Shame vs. Guilt
    • Shame - I am bad.  (Parenting style dictates whether you are shame-prone or guilt-prone.)
    • Guilt - I did something bad.  (A healthy sense of guilt is a catalyst for progression.)
  • According to Brené's research, where does a real sense of worthiness come from?
    • A feeling of love and belonging.
  • How do you get that sense of worthiness?
    • Believing that you have love and belonging.  Believe that you are worthy.
  • What distinguishes those who feel worthy from those who don't?
    • It takes courage to be imperfect.
      • Not bravery
      • (Latin) "Cour" means "heart"; to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
    • They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others.
      • You can't be compassionate to others unless you are first compassionate with yourself.
    • They had connection as a result of authenticity.  They were willing to let go of who they should be in order to be who they were.
    • They also all fully embraced vulnerability.
      • Vulnerability is not weakness. 
      • They believed that what made them vulnerable, made them beautiful.
      • They didn't call it easy, but they called necessary.
      • Stop trying to control and predict life.  Embrace vulnerability.
      • When you begin the fight to give up vulnerability, you will hopefully lose the fight, but win your life back. 
    • How do we deal with/hide our pain?
      • We numb vulnerability.
      • Generally speaking, we are the most addicted, obese and medicated cohort in American history.
    • You cannot selectively numb emotion.
      • You can't hide "dark" feelings without numbing your good emotions.
      • When we numb pain, disappointment, vulnerability, etc., we also numb joy, authenticity, belonging, gratitude, happiness, etc.
    • How else do we numb emotion? 
      • We make the uncertain, certain. (e.g. politics, religion)
      • We blame: "a way to discharge pain and discomfort."
      • We stay "too busy"
      • We pretend - what we do doesn't have an effect on other people.
      • We perfect.
        • We try to perfect our children.
        • We must be willing to let go of our desires to not let our children suffer at all.  We must recognized that kids are "wired for struggle, but are worthy of love and belonging."  That's all they need to know.
    • Solutions:
      • Let our selves be seen.  Deeply seen.  Vulnerably seen.
      • Love with our whole hearts even though there is no guarantee.
      • Practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror of not being reciprocated.
      • To believe we are Enough.
    • Owning your story, and loving yourself in the process, is the most courageous thing you can do in your life.

Couldn't Get Enough of Brené?


  1. It is so hard to see your own children hurting. I am trying to show love and hope he feels it.

    This was a helpful post, thanks for sharing it.

  2. I am very impressed with Dr Brene and enjoyed her talk very much-she makes great sense and is very real. So glad you're back on Tuesdays! Looking forward to getting to know you better!


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