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June 8, 2020

Below is a lesson from TED Talk on Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability, as well as our key learning.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Visit the TED Talk website here.


Key Learnings:

  • The research changed the way I live, love, work and parent
  • Social work: Lean into the discomfort and find a solution
  • I started with connection, which is what social work is about, connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives
  • Connection is how we are wired neurobiologically
  • Ask about love and you hear about heartbreak; ask about belonging and you hear about exclusion; ask about connection and you hear about disconnection.  
  • Shame is easily understood as the fear of disconnection – “if people know then I will not be worthy of connection.” “If people know or see I’m not worthy…” 
  • Shame is universal, we all have it. The only people who don’t have shame are those who are not capable of human empathy or connection. 
  • We all have shame, no one wants to talk about it and the less you talk about it the more you have it.
  • Underpinning this shame is “excruciating vulnerability” – that in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to really be seen
  • There are people who have a sense of worthiness — and they have a strong sense of love and belonging; and others who struggle for it. The only difference is those who do, have a strong sense that they are worthy of love and belonging. 
  • The thing that keeps us from connection is the fear we are not worthy of it
  • What do the worthy people have in common: whole-heartedness, a sense of courage (separate courage from bravery.) (Cor: Latin for courage, meaning to tell your story with your whole heart), the courage to be imperfect, have the compassion to be kind to themselves first (can’t have compassion for others if we can’t treat ourselves kindly). There’s a connection that comes from authenticity: being willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were. You must do this for connection. 
  • Worthy people also had in common that they fully embraced vulnerability 
  • How the wholehearted live: they believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. Vulnerability was necessary: the willingness to say I love you first, to do something where there were no guarantees, a willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. Willingness to breathe through uncertainty and discomfort to a result.
  • Vulnerability means to stop controlling and predicting (which is what research attempts to do)
  • Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, love, creativity, belonging
  • When people discover the importance of vulnerability they surrender and walk into it.
  • We numb vulnerability (we live in a vulnerable world and we deal with it by numbing it) 
  • You cannot selectively numb emotions – I don’t want to feel these so I try to numb them and you cannot numb some without numbing them all. When we numb them we also numb joy, gratitude, happiness and then we are miserable and we do things to compensate. It becomes a vicious cycle.
  • We try to make everything that is uncertain, certain. “I’m right, you are wrong, shut up.” We try to make our faith certain and it is not; it’s a mystery. The more afraid we are the more vulnerable we are and the more afraid we become. It’s why today there is no discourse there is only blame – politics today.
  • Blame research – a way to discharge pain and discomfort. 
  • Our children are hard wired to struggle when they get there – our job is not to make them perfect. Our job is to teach them they are worthy of love and belonging. 
  • We pretend that what we do does not have an effect on people. It does.
  • So the challenge: to love with our whole hearts without guarantee, to let ourselves be deeply seen, to practice gratitude and joy in times of terror and fear – to be this vulnerable means I am alive. And last is to believe that we are enough – when we are coming from a place that we are enough we stop screaming and start listening and we are kinder and gentler to others and ourselves.