Let’s Get Vulnerable

Last night I was pleased to stumble across this Ted video.  She says something in here that really resonates with one of my core beliefs.  She says, “Connection is why we are here.  It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives… it is neuro-biologically how we are wired.”  It’s so interesting to hear about her scientific, research-based approach to discovering what makes connection work for some and not for others.  What she discovers is disconnection comes from shame, a feeling of unworthiness and people who live “whole heartedly” find connection because they are willing to be vulnerable, mainly because they believe they deserve love.

I have a lot of respect for all the myths in our culture and their power to teach us our nature through metaphor.  This particular story of connection and disconnection has always reminded me of the Judeo-Christian creation story of Adam and Eve in the garden.  They live in paradise until they eat of the tree of knowledge and they feel shame, hide themselves, experience blame and they are separated from their creator, thrown out of Eden.  The fall of man is equated to the illusion that we are somehow disconnected from our creator, when in truth I believe that we are not.  And we constantly seek re-connection… when we feel good, we feel connected to life, the people around us, to our purpose and our values and when we feel bad, its because something has blocked our ability to know we are connected to our loved ones, purpose or values.

Think about your happiest moments, receiving a baby, falling in love, achieving a long awaited goal… these moments feel so amazing because we are feeling connected to ourselves, to our gifts & talents, to our creator, and to others.   Now think about your saddest moments, when a dream doesn’t work out, or someone you love deeply passes away… the thought is “I’ll never see them again”… underneath that, I am no longer connected to them.

I’ve always treasured Einstein’s words when mourning a loss like that.  “Energy is never created or destroyed.  It simply changes form.”  And I love how Abraham-Hicks talks about “we are always spiritual beings and sometimes physical.”  And then I couple that with the belief that I am always connected to source and to everything in existence, and while my loved one is no longer physical, somehow we are still connected on a spiritual level.

This appreciation of the importance of connection echoes through all of my life, especially in coaching, peace consulting and my approach to children.  It’s why Pam Leo’s book Connection Parenting rings so true to me.  It’s why I chose Coach for Life and the Inspired Learning Foundation for my training.  They are both based on the 10 Standards of Presence, one of which is Connect at a Heart Level.  And it’s why I fell in love with Compassionate Communication as taught by Marshall Rosenberg.  He taught me that we are all connected/interdependent and through choosing to connect on the level of needs, we can find solutions that meet the needs of everyone involved.  I love this!

So it’s really interesting to hear Brene Brown’s research pointing the finger to “vulnerability is the core of shame, our fear, our struggle for worthiness, but it appears it’s also the birthplace of our joy, our creativity, belonging, and love.”

She found that whole-hearted people had:

1) the courage to be imperfect, and

2) the compassion to be kind to themselves first, because you can’t truly be compassionate to others if you aren’t first connected to your own needs.

3) They found connection as a result of authenticity.  they were willing to let go of who they were supposed to be in order to be who they really are.

4) And they fully embraced vulnerability as a necessary part of life.  They believed what made them vulnerable, made them beautiful.

For most of us, myself included, living whole heartedly through being vulnerable is a challenge. For me, learning to embrace mine and others imperfections and to be compassionate to myself first are the big ones.  And my hidden big one… authenticity.  In many ways, I am as authentic as they come.  I’m an open book, I’m deeply and sometimes inappropriately honest, and I’m always seeking connection through this method of authentic sharing.  However, I do recognize that I have a filter, and my filter never allows judgmental thoughts or thoughts that might offend others to escape my mouth, and so there are things that I don’t share openly, and therefor might inhibit my full authenticity and therefor my full connection.  But I’m learning… that’s why I’m so passionate about Compassionate Communication.  It is teaching me how to communicate my truth (judgments included) and connect fully without risking disconnection through the thoughtless expression of judgments.

“They say” we always teach what we most need to learn, and that does appear to be the case for me.  And as I share my path and passion with groups, I really offer this as a bonus.  I’m in the trenches with them, I’m their equal in discovery.  Together we will explore this new terrain, share in it’s ups and downs, and support each other as we travel in the direction we want to go.  A more fulfilling way of living.

My goal is to make life more wonderful for myself, my family, my community and the world at large and I believe connection is the key.  Thank you Brene Brown for sharing your discoveries with us!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mike Long
    Aug 06, 2012 @ 17:39:14

    Thanks for introducing me to Brene Brown through your site. I may have to watch it a couple more times. I have been focused on gratitude which has helped me connect with, or believe in, a spiritual life for the first time in 62 years. I have recently read “The Tools” and I decided to start builing or at least re-examining my theology starting with gratitude. I feel that Brene’s ideas will also play a part. She had many powerful and insightful ideas. I liked her as a person as well. Thank you for sharing her with me.


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