Last week I listened to Brene Brown speak on vulnerability and how if effects how we live, parent, and maintain relationships, www.wnyc.org/shows/on-being/about/. Really powerful! Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston’s College of Social Work, has also given a talk on shame, http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html with equally powerful effect. Her current book is titled Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.
Her findings suggest that courage is born, not out of strength but out of vulnerability. She speaks of the times in her own life and the lives of her interviewees that held the most beauty and depth as the times when they needed to struggle to get out from under something they didn’t think they could get out from under. This runs contrary to the pop culture idea that the pursuit of happiness is the goal.
It is out of a willingness to be vulnerable that we meet our humanity. We try so hard to avoid that painful feeling, but it is actually our vulnerability that deeply connects us to our own lives and to each other. When we share our struggles with each other, it cultivates compassion and empathy. Brown states that vulnerability is the first thing we want to find in another person but the last thing we want to show another person.
When we admit to our vulnerability we are able to find the courage to move forward from the fear of “what will people think” to “I am enough”.
It is not about win or lose, success or failure, but the willingness to participate, with all of our heart, at work, at play, in this one precious life we have. Only then will we live a fully engaged, wholehearted life of tenderness, strength, and courage; only then will we be able to experience the depth and beauty this life has to offer us.
And in this holiday season that includes so much pressure to do everything right, recognize that you are enough! Have a wonderful holiday.