I recently listened to a book on tape – The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection and Courage. This audiobook is a series of talks on by Brené Brown, who has a PhD. in social work. Not only do Dr. Brown’s ideas strike a chord with me, but her power as a storyteller conveys those ideas vividly.
I cannot recommend too highly that you check out her books and her audio books.
Dr. Brown draws the important distinction between vulnerability and weakness. We are vulnerable to people we love and trust, but that is not weakness. Rather, Dr. Brown calls this “wholeheartedness,” a position of strength we arrive at when we embrace vulnerability – not as accepting weakness, but as opening ourselves up to creativity, oneness, love, belonging.
Too often, we struggle with the notion, deep down, of our own worthiness. We know we’re not perfect, we make mistakes every day.
So, how do we get past the idea that we are unworthy of love and belonging and how can we become wholehearted? Dr. Brown’s empirical research yields the conclusion that wholehearted people all seem to share the following characteristics:
• Courage – defined not as physical bravery, but as the willingness to embrace our own, imperfect selves.
• Acceptance – of one’s self and others, imperfections one and all.
• Presence – wholehearted people show up! They are there for others – and for themselves.
• Compassion – for one’s self, first, and from there, for others. Our feelings for ourselves radiate outward. If we don’t love ourselves wholeheartedly first, we won’t bring a whole heart to our love for others.
• Connection – when we are authentic, when we are true to our own selves and trust our own worthiness, that is when we make the truest connections with others.
The wholehearted are authentic. They embrace their vulnerability in the appropriate circumstances. They are there for themselves and others, showing compassion, and making connections from a core of embraced imperfection, worth, and strength.
After listening, one day, I thought about the people in my life that I most respect and like.
They are all wholehearted. Every one of them.
What are your thoughts on the power of authenticity, of vulnerability?
Please click here to email me directly – I would love to hear your ideas!
Until next Wednesday –