Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and presenter of this fantastic TED Talk. Brown, who has a doctorate in social work, has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions:
How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?
In her TED Talk Brene Brown shares her own story of confronting vulnerability as a woman who entered the field of research believing that everything can be measured — or it’s not real. Her own in-depth research journey landed her in the therapist’s office, where she sought professional insights on her intellectual confusion without going into her own personal issues.
With refreshing candor, Brene Brown admits that her therapist specialized in seeing therapists and was known to have a high bs meter. And so all Brown’s rational walls came tumbling down until she grasped vulnerability as key to self-love and personal growth.
In her 2010 book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ — which remains #357 in books at Amazon over a year later, the author shares her philosophy, reminding us:
Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, “What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?”
In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”