The Power of Vulnerability
Everyone who follows TED talks knows they’re a great source of inspiration and that’s exactly the case in ‘The Power of Vulnerability’. In her presentation, Brene Brown takes us on a journey of self-discovery and teaches us about the beauty of vulnerability in the process.
While vulnerability is commonly perceived as a weakness, it’s far from it. It’s the ability to be authentic and not being afraid to admit you’re hurt. It’s the way we can form genuine connections with other people and live true to ourselves. It simply means being human.
Here are the main lessons we learnt from her talk:
1. Allow yourself to be seen and have the courage to be imperfect
The real connection is what drives us and gives us purpose. When we feel like we belong and experience a deeper understanding of another person, it gives us meaning. It’s also the reason we are here; connection is a foundation of love and high-quality relationships with others.
Unfortunately, the fear of being ourselves often stands in the way of connection. We’re afraid we’re not good enough and fail to be true to ourselves to avoid rejection. However, vulnerability is a part of life and there’s no way around it.
Hiding behind a mask won’t prevent the feelings of hurt and only make it more difficult to connect with yourself. In reality, being rejected for who you aren’t is more painful than being rejected for who you are.
Let go of the person you think you should be and embrace your flaws. When you form a healthy relationship with yourself, it will allow you to form healthy connections with others.
2. Believe you’re worthy enough
One of Brown’s main observations is that people who have a strong sense of belonging believe they’re worthy of belonging. When you think you’re not good enough, you allow your negative thoughts to guide your behaviour and might subconsciously jeopardise your chances at connection.
Additionally, people who form strong connections with others exhibit compassion towards themselves. Ask yourself, do you often criticise yourself? Do you think badly of yourself whenever you make a mistake?
If this sounds like you, it’s time to learn how to be more compassionate. The only way to be kind to others is to know how to treat yourself kindly first.
3. Vulnerability is necessary
The difference between people who feel connected to others and those who don’t is that the first group sees vulnerability as a necessary part of life and the second group associates it with a sense of shame.
While vulnerability is the core of shame, it also leads to joy, belonging and love. By allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you allow yourself to live fully and embrace all life’s ups and downs.
While it might be scary to express your feelings to other people, if you never try, you might miss out on many great connections. As Brown herself said, “Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”
4. Feel all your emotions
We tend to be so afraid of vulnerability that we try to numb it by using distractions. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to numb one emotion without numbing the other ones.
When we reject to engage with bad emotions, we fail to engage with positive emotions too and struggle to live a fulfilling life as a result. The only way to fully experience happiness is to experience sadness first.
This is why you should love with your whole heart even when there’s no guarantee the other person feels the same way. We live in a vulnerable world so putting yourself out there takes courage but the benefits outweigh the risks.
If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Contact My Family Psychologist to explore your options.