Home > Healing, Learning, Men, Musings, Women > Vulnerability – the follow up video

Vulnerability – the follow up video

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Further to Brené Brown‘s exploration of vulnerability, as with many theories I was left wondering how her theory could be applied in everyday life.  I wanted the 18 minute how-to video.  But I know that this next video is one we each shoot for ourselves.

So what’s mine look like?

As a first step, I distilled her theory down to its essence (as I saw it through my lens).   (It’s best to ensure you’ve watched the video to flesh out this summary).

Our influences

  • Desire for connection: that’s why we are here
  • We’re taught if we can’t measure something, it doesn’t exist, invalidating intangibles
  • The shame we experience is based in fear of disconnection: that we’re never good enough; “Who do you think you are?”

Our strategies

To try and avoid shame:

  • We blame others, bad luck, fate, etc.: this a way to discharge pain and discomfort
  • We numb out vulnerability: (but we cannot be selective about emotions, so we numb joy, gratitude, happiness)
  • We try to make everything that is uncertain, certain
  • We strive for perfection, and we try to make our children perfect
  • We pretend that what we do doesn’t have an impact

Of course these strategies actually result in disconnection.  To connect, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, to be vulnerable.   Those people willing to do so Brown calls, “wholehearted,” asserting that these people feel worthwhile solely because they believe they are worthwhile.

So these wholehearted people who believe they are worthy, and as a result they feel worthy:

  • Have courage; they tell the story of who they are with their whole heart: they have the courage to be imperfect
  • Let themselves be seen, love with their whole hearts even though there is no guarantee of return, practice gratitude and joy, believe that they’re enough
  • Recognize that connection is a result of authenticity; they let go of who they think they should be, to be who they are
  • Have compassion: they are kind to themselves first, only then can they be kind to others
  • Are willing to take emotional risks, are vulnerable, they let go of controlling
  • Teach their children that they are worthy

As a next step, I created affirmations for the key points:

  • I am worthy
  • I tell the story of who I am with my whole heart
  • I have the courage to be seen as imperfect
  • I let myself be seen
  • I love with my whole heart
  • I am grateful
  • I practice joy
  • I am enough
  • I let go of who I think I should be, to be who I am
  • I am compassionate to myself
  • I am compassionate to others
  • I am willing to be vulnerable
  • I let go of controlling
  • I teach my children that they are worthy

To these I add some other affirmations that are meaningful to me.

Finally, as I go through my day, when I catch myself blaming, resenting, ruminating, shaming, etc., I stop myself, and see which of these affirmations come up for me.

Film at 11.

  1. Mike
    Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Great stuff Jon and I wonder, is it the same for all of us?
    When thinking about how to apply what Brown is talking about, I ask:

    How do you be vulnerable about what when relating to whom?

  2. Thursday, April 28th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I like your last question, it provides good guidance on how to find one’s personal path to vulnerability. This conversation show how divergent different approaches can be: http://bit.ly/jkCMQe

  3. Sunday, June 12th, 2011 at 10:29 am

    On Oprah’s last network studio show, she addressed worthiness:

    “I learned from the guests on this show: no need to feel superior to anybody because whether it’s heroin addiction or gambling addiction or shopping addiction, food addiction, work addiction: the root is all the same. The show has taught me that there is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and our suffering, and that is unworthiness: not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for. Even people who believe they deserve to be happy and have nice things often don’t feel worthy once they have them. There is a difference you know between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness.
    “We often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough. What this show has taught me…that you are worthy because you are born, and because you are here. Your being here, your being alive, makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough.
    “I’ve spoken to a lot of mean-spirited bullies on this stage, bullies and batterers, and all of them were masking the same thing: a sense of unworthiness. I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show and all 30,000 had one thing in common: they all wanted validation. And if I could reach through this television and sit on your sofa, or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you ever will meet shares that common desire. They want to know, ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?’ Understanding that one principle, that everybody wants to be heard has allowed me to hold the microphone for you all, all these years with the least amount of judgment.
    “Now I can’t say I wasn’t judging some days. Some days I had to judge just a little bit. But it’s helped me to stand and try to do that with an open mind and do it with an open heart. It has worked for this platform and I guarantee you it will work for yours. Try it with your children, your husband, your wife, your boss, your friends…validate them, ‘I see you. I hear you. What you say matters to me.’”

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