Yesterday, while I was driving home from work listening to a podcast (as usual), a new TED Talk came on. Do you all listen to TED Talks? I love them. It’s like your favorite college class with your most interesting professor, talking about a subject you likely know nothing about.
This TED Talk was all about vulnerability. How vulnerability influences shame, empathy, and most importantly, how it’s at the heart of all of our decision making.
I was totally blown away by some of her findings. It was like she was telling me something that I so clearly already knew, but at the same time, that had never really occurred to me before.
Of course, I immediately thought of blogging. Blogging makes me feel especially vulnerable. What if someone doesn’t agree with me? Or I offend someone? Or they notice the way this shirt flares out strangely in that photograph? What if they judge my words harshly?
Here’s an excerpt of Brené Brown’s talk, which speaks to this.
“What underpinned this shame, this “I’m not good enough,” — which we all know that feeling: “I’m not blank enough. I’m not thin enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, promoted enough.”The thing that underpinned this was excruciating vulnerability, this idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.
The problem is — and I learned this from the research — that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t say, here’s the bad stuff. Here’s vulnerability, here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment. I don’t want to feel these. I’m going to have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin.(Laughter) I don’t want to feel these. And I know that’s knowing laughter. I hack into your lives for a living. God. (Laughter) You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.
This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen,deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee… Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough,” then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
Haven’t we all felt this at some point?
Here’s to being kind and gentle, friends.