Daring Greatly : How the Courage to be Vulnerable

Orthiness were coincidence Only after twelve years of dropping deeper and deeper into this work did I finally understand the role it plays in our lives Vulnerability is the core the heart the center of meaningful human experiencesThis new information created a major dilemma for me personally On the one hand how can you talk about the importance of vulnerability in an honest and meaningful way without being vulnerable On the other hand how can you be vulnerable without sacrificing your legitimacy as a researcher To be honest I think emotional accessibility is a shame trigger for researchers and academics Very early in our training we are taught that a cool distance and inaccessibility contribute to prestige and that if youre too relatable your credentials come into uestion While being called pedantic is an insult in most settings in the ivory tower were taught to wear the pedantic label like a suit of armor How could I risk being really vulnerable and tell stories about my own messy journey through this research without looking like a total flake What about my professional armor My moment to dare greatly as Theodore Roosevelt once urged citizens to do came in June when I was invited to speak at TEDxHouston TEDxHouston is one of many independently organized events modeled after TEDa nonprofit addressing the worlds of Technology Entertainment and Design that is devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading TED and TEDx organizers bring together the worlds most fascinating thinkers and doers and challenge them to give the talk of their life in eighteen minutes or lessThe TEDxHouston curators were unlike any event organizers Ive known Bringing in a shame and vulnerability researcher makes most organizers a little nervous and compels a few to get somewhat prescriptive about the content of the talk When I asked the TEDx people what they wanted me to talk about they responded We love your work Talk about whatever makes you feel awesomedo your thing Were grateful to share the day with you Actually Im not sure how they made the decision to let me do my thing because before that talk I wasnt aware of having a thingI loved the freedom of that invitation and I hated it I was back straddling the tension between leaning into the discomfort and finding refuge in my old friends prediction and control I decided to go for it Truthfully I had no idea what I was getting intoMy decision to dare greatly didnt stem from self confidence as much as it did from faith in my research I know Im a good researcher and I trusted that the conclusions I had drawn from the data were valid and reliable Vulnerability would take me where I wanted or maybe needed to go I also convinced myself that it wasnt really a big deal Its Houston a hometown crowd Worst case scenario five hundred people plus a few watching the live streaming will think Im a nutThe morning after the talk I woke up with one of the worst vulnerability hangovers of my life You know that feeling when you wake up and everything feels fine until the memory of laying yourself open washes over you and you want to hide under the covers What did I do Five hundred people officially think Im crazy and it totally sucks I forgot to mention two important things Did I actually have a slide with the word breakdown on it to reinforce the story that I shouldnt have told in the first place I must leave townBut there was nowhere to run Six months after the talk I received an e mail from the curators of TEDxHouston congratulating me because my talk was going to be featured on the main TED website I knew that was a good thing a coveted honor even but I was terrified First I was just settling into the idea of only five hundred people thinking Im crazy Second in a culture full of critics and cynics I had always felt safer in my career flying right under the radar Looking back Im not sure how I would have responded to that e mail had I known that having a video go viral on vulnerability and the importance of letting ourselves be seen would leave me feeling so uncomfortably and ironically vulnerable and exposedToday that talk is one of the most viewed on TED withthan five million hits and translation available in thirty eight languages Ive never watched it Im glad I did it but it still makes me feel really uncomfortableThe way I see it was the year of the TEDxHouston talk and was the year of walking the talkliterally I crisscrossed the country speaking to groups ranging from Fortune companies leadership coaches and the military to lawyers parenting groups and school districts In I was invited to give another talk at the main TED conference in Long Beach California For me the talk was my opportunity to share the work that has literally been the foundation and springboard for all of my researchI talked about shame and how we have to understand it and work through it if we really want to dare greatlyThe experience of sharing my research led me to write this book After discussions with my publisher about the possibility of a business book and or a parenting book plus a book for teachers I realized that there only needed to be one book because no matter where I went or with whom I was speaking the core issues were the same fear disengagement and yearning forcourageMy corporate talks almost always focus on inspired leadership or creativity and innovation The most significant problems that everyone from C level executives to the frontline folks talk to me about stem from disengagement the lack of feedback the fear of staying relevant amid rapid change and the need for clarity of purpose If we want to reignite innovation and passion we have to rehumanize work When shame becomes a management style engagement dies When failure is not an option we can forget about learning creativity and innovationWhen it comes to parenting the practice of framing mothers and fathers as good or bad is both rampant and corrosiveit turns parenting into a shame minefield The real uestions for parents should be Are you engaged Are you paying attention If so plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children Perfection doesnt exist and Ive found that what makes children happy doesnt always prepare them to be courageous engaged adults The same is true for schools I havent encountered a single problem that isnt attributed to some combination of parental teacher administrative and or student disengagement and the clash of competing stakeholders vying to define one purposeI have found that the most difficult and most rewarding challenge of my work is how to be both a mapmaker and a traveler My maps or theories on shame resilience Wholeheartedness and vulnerability have not been drawn from the experiences of my own travels but from the data Ive collected over the past dozen yearsthe experiences of thousands of men and women who are forging paths in the direction that I and many others want to take our livesOver the years Ive learned that a surefooted and confident mapmaker does not a swift traveler make I stumble and fall and I constantly find myself needing to change course And even though Im trying to follow a map that Ive drawn there are many times when frustration and self doubt take over and I wad up that map and shove it into the junk drawer in my kitchen Its not an easy journey from excruciating to exuisite but for me its been worth every stepWhat we all share in commonwhat Ive spent the past several years talking to leaders parents and educators aboutis the truth that forms the very core of this book What we know matters but who we are mattersBeing rather than knowing reuires showing up and letting ourselves be seen It reuires us to dare greatly to be vulnerable The first step of that journey is understanding where we are what were up against and where we need to go I think we can best do that by examining our pervasive Never Enough cultureAPTER SCARCITY LOOKING INSIDE OUR CULTURE OF NEVER ENOUGHAfter doing this work for the past twelve years and watching scarcity ride roughshod over our families organizations and communities Id say the one thing we have in common is that were sick of feeling afraid We want to dare greatly Were tired of the national conversation centering on What should we fear and Who should we blame We all want to be braveYOU cant swing a cat without hitting a narcissistGranted it wasnt my most elouent moment onstage It also wasnt my intention to offend anyone but when Im really fired up or frustrated I tend to revert back to the language instilled in me by the generations of Texans who came before me I swing cats things get stuck in my craw and Im freuently fixin to come undone These regressions normally happen at home or when Im with family and friends but occasionally when Im feeling ornery they slip out onstageIve heard and used the swinging cat expression my entire life and it didnt dawn on me thatthan a few of the thousand members of the audience were picturing me knocking over self important folks with an actual feline In my defense while responding to numerous e mails sent by audience members who thought animal cruelty was inconsistent with my message of vulnerability and connection I did learn that the expression has nothing to do with animals Its actually a British Navy reference to the difficulty of using a cat o nine tails in the tight uarters of a ship I know Not so great eitherIn this particular instance the cat swinging was triggered when a woman from the audience shouted out The kids today think theyre so special Whats turning so many people into narcissists My less than stellar response verged on smart alecky Yeah You cant swing a cat without hitting a narcissist But it stemmed from a frustration that I still feel when I hear the term narcissism thrown around Facebook is so narcissistic Why do people think what theyre doing is so important The kids today are all narcissists Its always me me me My boss is such a narcissist She thinks shes better than everyone and is always putting other people downAnd while laypeople are using narcissism as a catchall diagnosis for everything from arrogance to rude behavior researchers and helping professionals are testing the concepts elasticity in every way imaginable Recently a group of researchers conducted a computer analysis of three decades of hit songs The researchers reported a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and hostility in popular music In line with their hypothesis they found a decrease in usages such as we and us and an increase in I and meThe researchers also reported a decline in words related to social connection and positive emotions and an increase in words related to anger and antisocial behavior such as hate or kill Two of the researchers from that study Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell authors of the book The Narcissism Epidemic argue that the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder hasthan doubled in the United States in the last ten yearsRelying on yet another fine saying from my grandmother it feels like the world is going to hell in a handbasketOr is it Are we surrounded by narcissists Have we turned into a culture of self absorbed grandiose people who are only interested in power success beauty and being special Are we so entitled that we actually believe that were superior even when were not really contributing or achieving anything of value Is it true that we lack the necessary empathy to be compassionate connected people If youre like me youre probably wincing a bit and thinking Yes This is exactly the problem Not with me of course But in generalthis sounds about right It feels good to have an explanation especially one that conveniently makes us feel better about ourselves and places the blame on those people In fact whenever I hear people making the narcissism argument its normally served with a side of contempt anger and judgment Ill be honest I even felt those emotions when I was writing that paragraphOur first inclination is to cure the narcissists by cutting them down to size It doesnt matter if Im talking to teachers parents CEOs or my neighbors the response is the same These egomaniacs need to know that theyre not special theyre not that great theyre not entitled to jack and they need to get over themselves No one cares This is the G rated version Heres where it gets tricky And frustrating And maybe even a little heartbreaking The topic of narcissism has penetrated the social consciousness enough that most people correctly associate it with a pattern of behaviors that include grandiosity a pervasive need for admiration and a lack of empathy What almost no one understands is how every level of severity in this diagnosis is underpinned by shame Which means we dont fix it by cutting people down to size and reminding folks of their inadeuacies and smallness Shame islikely to be the cause of these behaviors not the cureLOOKING AT NARCISSISM THROUGHTHE LENS OF VULNERABILITYDiagnosing and labeling people whose struggles areenvironmental or learned than genetic or organic is often fardetrimental to healing and change than it is helpful And when we have an epidemic on our hands unless were talking about something physically contagious the cause is muchlikely to be environmental than a hardwiring issue Labeling the problem in a way that makes it about who people are rather than the choices theyre making lets all of us off the hook Too bad Thats who I am Im a huge believer in holding people accountable for their behaviors so Im not talking about blaming the system here Im talking about understanding the root cause so we can address the problemsIts often helpful to recognize patterns of behaviors and to understand what those patterns may indicate but thats far different from becoming defined by a diagnosis which is something I believe and that the research shows often exacerbates shame and prevents people from seeking helpWe need to understand these trends and influences but I find it farhelpful and even transformative in many instances to look at the patterns of behaviors through the lens of vulnerability For example when I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens I see.

daring mobile greatly mobile courage pdf vulnerable ebok transforms pdf live book love pdf parent free lead mobile Daring Greatly epub How mobile How the Courage pdf Greatly How kindle Greatly How the Courage free Daring Greatly How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live Love Parent and Lead PDFEPUBOrthiness were coincidence Only after twelve years of dropping deeper and deeper into this work did I finally understand the role it plays in our lives Vulnerability is the core the heart the center of meaningful human experiencesThis new information created a major dilemma for me personally On the one hand how can you talk about the importance of vulnerability in an honest and meaningful way without being vulnerable On the other hand how can you be vulnerable without sacrificing your legitimacy as a researcher To be honest I think emotional accessibility is a shame trigger for researchers and academics Very early in our training we are taught that a cool distance and inaccessibility contribute to prestige and that if youre too relatable your credentials come into uestion While being called pedantic is an insult in most settings in the ivory tower were taught to wear the pedantic label like a suit of armor How could I risk being really vulnerable and tell stories about my own messy journey through this research without looking like a total flake What about my professional armor My moment to dare greatly as Theodore Roosevelt once urged citizens to do came in June when I was invited to speak at TEDxHouston TEDxHouston is one of many independently organized events modeled after TEDa nonprofit addressing the worlds of Technology Entertainment and Design that is devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading TED and TEDx organizers bring together the worlds most fascinating thinkers and doers and challenge them to give the talk of their life in eighteen minutes or lessThe TEDxHouston curators were unlike any event organizers Ive known Bringing in a shame and vulnerability researcher makes most organizers a little nervous and compels a few to get somewhat prescriptive about the content of the talk When I asked the TEDx people what they wanted me to talk about they responded We love your work Talk about whatever makes you feel awesomedo your thing Were grateful to share the day with you Actually Im not sure how they made the decision to let me do my thing because before that talk I wasnt aware of having a thingI loved the freedom of that invitation and I hated it I was back straddling the tension between leaning into the discomfort and finding refuge in my old friends prediction and control I decided to go for it Truthfully I had no idea what I was getting intoMy decision to dare greatly didnt stem from self confidence as much as it did from faith in my research I know Im a good researcher and I trusted that the conclusions I had drawn from the data were valid and reliable Vulnerability would take me where I wanted or maybe needed to go I also convinced myself that it wasnt really a big deal Its Houston a hometown crowd Worst case scenario five hundred people plus a few watching the live streaming will think Im a nutThe morning after the talk I woke up with one of the worst vulnerability hangovers of my life You know that feeling when you wake up and everything feels fine until the memory of laying yourself open washes over you and you want to hide under the covers What did I do Five hundred people officially think Im crazy and it totally sucks I forgot to mention two important things Did I actually have a slide with the word breakdown on it to reinforce the story that I shouldnt have told in the first place I must leave townBut there was nowhere to run Six months after the talk I received an e mail from the curators of TEDxHouston congratulating me because my talk was going to be featured on the main TED website I knew that was a good thing a coveted honor even but I was terrified First I was just settling into the idea of only five hundred people thinking Im crazy Second in a culture full of critics and cynics I had always felt safer in my career flying right under the radar Looking back Im not sure how I would have responded to that e mail had I known that having a video go viral on vulnerability and the importance of letting ourselves be seen would leave me feeling so uncomfortably and ironically vulnerable and exposedToday that talk is one of the most viewed on TED withthan five million hits and translation available in thirty eight languages Ive never watched it Im glad I did it but it still makes me feel really uncomfortableThe way I see it was the year of the TEDxHouston talk and was the year of walking the talkliterally I crisscrossed the country speaking to groups ranging from Fortune companies leadership coaches and the military to lawyers parenting groups and school districts In I was invited to give another talk at the main TED conference in Long Beach California For me the talk was my opportunity to share the work that has literally been the foundation and springboard for all of my researchI talked about shame and how we have to understand it and work through it if we really want to dare greatlyThe experience of sharing my research led me to write this book After discussions with my publisher about the possibility of a business book and or a parenting book plus a book for teachers I realized that there only needed to be one book because no matter where I went or with whom I was speaking the core issues were the same fear disengagement and yearning forcourageMy corporate talks almost always focus on inspired leadership or creativity and innovation The most significant problems that everyone from C level executives to the frontline folks talk to me about stem from disengagement the lack of feedback the fear of staying relevant amid rapid change and the need for clarity of purpose If we want to reignite innovation and passion we have to rehumanize work When shame becomes a management style engagement dies When failure is not an option we can forget about learning creativity and innovationWhen it comes to parenting the practice of framing mothers and fathers as good or bad is both rampant and corrosiveit turns parenting into a shame minefield The real uestions for parents should be Are you engaged Are you paying attention If so plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children Perfection doesnt exist and Ive found that what makes children happy doesnt always prepare them to be courageous engaged adults The same is true for schools I havent encountered a single problem that isnt attributed to some combination of parental teacher administrative and or student disengagement and the clash of competing stakeholders vying to define one purposeI have found that the most difficult and most rewarding challenge of my work is how to be both a mapmaker and a traveler My maps or theories on shame resilience Wholeheartedness and vulnerability have not been drawn from the experiences of my own travels but from the data Ive collected over the past dozen yearsthe experiences of thousands of men and women who are forging paths in the direction that I and many others want to take our livesOver the years Ive learned that a surefooted and confident mapmaker does not a swift traveler make I stumble and fall and I constantly find myself needing to change course And even though Im trying to follow a map that Ive drawn there are many times when frustration and self doubt take over and I wad up that map and shove it into the junk drawer in my kitchen Its not an easy journey from excruciating to exuisite but for me its been worth every stepWhat we all share in commonwhat Ive spent the past several years talking to leaders parents and educators aboutis the truth that forms the very core of this book What we know matters but who we are mattersBeing rather than knowing reuires showing up and letting ourselves be seen It reuires us to dare greatly to be vulnerable The first step of that journey is understanding where we are what were up against and where we need to go I think we can best do that by examining our pervasive Never Enough cultureAPTER SCARCITY LOOKING INSIDE OUR CULTURE OF NEVER ENOUGHAfter doing this work for the past twelve years and watching scarcity ride roughshod over our families organizations and communities Id say the one thing we have in common is that were sick of feeling afraid We want to dare greatly Were tired of the national conversation centering on What should we fear and Who should we blame We all want to be braveYOU cant swing a cat without hitting a narcissistGranted it wasnt my most elouent moment onstage It also wasnt my intention to offend anyone but when Im really fired up or frustrated I tend to revert back to the language instilled in me by the generations of Texans who came before me I swing cats things get stuck in my craw and Im freuently fixin to come undone These regressions normally happen at home or when Im with family and friends but occasionally when Im feeling ornery they slip out onstageIve heard and used the swinging cat expression my entire life and it didnt dawn on me thatthan a few of the thousand members of the audience were picturing me knocking over self important folks with an actual feline In my defense while responding to numerous e mails sent by audience members who thought animal cruelty was inconsistent with my message of vulnerability and connection I did learn that the expression has nothing to do with animals Its actually a British Navy reference to the difficulty of using a cat o nine tails in the tight uarters of a ship I know Not so great eitherIn this particular instance the cat swinging was triggered when a woman from the audience shouted out The kids today think theyre so special Whats turning so many people into narcissists My less than stellar response verged on smart alecky Yeah You cant swing a cat without hitting a narcissist But it stemmed from a frustration that I still feel when I hear the term narcissism thrown around Facebook is so narcissistic Why do people think what theyre doing is so important The kids today are all narcissists Its always me me me My boss is such a narcissist She thinks shes better than everyone and is always putting other people downAnd while laypeople are using narcissism as a catchall diagnosis for everything from arrogance to rude behavior researchers and helping professionals are testing the concepts elasticity in every way imaginable Recently a group of researchers conducted a computer analysis of three decades of hit songs The researchers reported a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and hostility in popular music In line with their hypothesis they found a decrease in usages such as we and us and an increase in I and meThe researchers also reported a decline in words related to social connection and positive emotions and an increase in words related to anger and antisocial behavior such as hate or kill Two of the researchers from that study Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell authors of the book The Narcissism Epidemic argue that the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder hasthan doubled in the United States in the last ten yearsRelying on yet another fine saying from my grandmother it feels like the world is going to hell in a handbasketOr is it Are we surrounded by narcissists Have we turned into a culture of self absorbed grandiose people who are only interested in power success beauty and being special Are we so entitled that we actually believe that were superior even when were not really contributing or achieving anything of value Is it true that we lack the necessary empathy to be compassionate connected people If youre like me youre probably wincing a bit and thinking Yes This is exactly the problem Not with me of course But in generalthis sounds about right It feels good to have an explanation especially one that conveniently makes us feel better about ourselves and places the blame on those people In fact whenever I hear people making the narcissism argument its normally served with a side of contempt anger and judgment Ill be honest I even felt those emotions when I was writing that paragraphOur first inclination is to cure the narcissists by cutting them down to size It doesnt matter if Im talking to teachers parents CEOs or my neighbors the response is the same These egomaniacs need to know that theyre not special theyre not that great theyre not entitled to jack and they need to get over themselves No one cares This is the G rated version Heres where it gets tricky And frustrating And maybe even a little heartbreaking The topic of narcissism has penetrated the social consciousness enough that most people correctly associate it with a pattern of behaviors that include grandiosity a pervasive need for admiration and a lack of empathy What almost no one understands is how every level of severity in this diagnosis is underpinned by shame Which means we dont fix it by cutting people down to size and reminding folks of their inadeuacies and smallness Shame islikely to be the cause of these behaviors not the cureLOOKING AT NARCISSISM THROUGHTHE LENS OF VULNERABILITYDiagnosing and labeling people whose struggles areenvironmental or learned than genetic or organic is often fardetrimental to healing and change than it is helpful And when we have an epidemic on our hands unless were talking about something physically contagious the cause is muchlikely to be environmental than a hardwiring issue Labeling the problem in a way that makes it about who people are rather than the choices theyre making lets all of us off the hook Too bad Thats who I am Im a huge believer in holding people accountable for their behaviors so Im not talking about blaming the system here Im talking about understanding the root cause so we can address the problemsIts often helpful to recognize patterns of behaviors and to understand what those patterns may indicate but thats far different from becoming defined by a diagnosis which is something I believe and that the research shows often exacerbates shame and prevents people from seeking helpWe need to understand these trends and influences but I find it farhelpful and even transformative in many instances to look at the patterns of behaviors through the lens of vulnerability For example when I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens I see.

❰Ebook❯ ➧ Daring Greatly : How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead Author Brene Brown – Ruseeds.co Praise for Daring Greatly DANNY CLARKBren Brown PhD LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability coura❰Ebook❯ ➧ Daring Greatly : How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead Author Brene Brown – Ruseeds.co Praise for Daring Greatly DANNY CLARKBren Brown PhD LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability coura Praise for Daring Greatly : How eBook ¸ DANNY CLARKBren Brown PhD LMSW is a research professor at the Daring Greatly Kindle - University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability Greatly : How ePUB ☆ courage worthiness and shame Her TEDxHouston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the Greatly : How the Courage PDF/EPUB ² most watched talks on TED Bren is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Gifts of Imperfection I Thought It Was Just Me and Rising Strong Bren is also the founder and CEO of The Daring Waya teaching and certification program for helping professionals who want to facilitate her work on vulnerability courage shame and worthiness Bren lives in Houston with her husband Steve and their two childrenSO BY BREN BROWN The Gifts of Imperfection I Thought It Was Just Me but it isntRising StrongWHAT ITMEANS TODAREGREATLYTHE phrase Daring Greatly is from Theodore Roosevelts speech Citizenship in a Republic The speech sometimes referred to as The Man in the Arena was delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris France on April This is the passage that made the Greatly : How the Courage PDF/EPUB ² speech famous It is not the critic who counts not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them betterThe credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly who errs who comes short again and againbecause there is no effort without error and shortcoming but who does actually strive to do the deeds who knows great enthusiasms the great devotions who spends himself in a worthy cause who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatlyThe first time I read this uote I thought This is vulnerability Everything Ive learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat its understanding the necessity of both its engaging Its being all inVulnerability is not weakness and the uncertainty risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional Our only choice is a uestion of engagement Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnectionWhen we spend our lives waiting until were perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable we suander our precious time and we turn our backs on our gifts those uniue contributions that only we can make Perfect and bulletproof are seductive but they dont exist in the human experience We must walk into the arena whatever it may bea new relationship an important meeting our creative process or a difficult family conversationwith courage and the willingness to engage Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen This is vulnerability This is daring greatlyJoin me as we explore the answers to these uestions What drives our fear of being vulnerable How are we protecting ourselves from vulnerability What price are we paying when we shut down and disengage How do we own and engage with vulnerability so we can start transforming the way we live love parent and lead INTRODUCTION MY ADVENTURESIN THE ARENAI looked right at her and said I frickin hate vulnerability I figured shes a therapistIm sure shes had tougher cases Plus the sooner she knows what shes dealing with the faster we can get this whole therapy thing wrapped up I hate uncertainty I hate not knowing I cant stand opening myself to getting hurt or being disappointed Its excruciating Vulnerability is complicated And its excruciating Do you know what I mean Diana nods Yes I know vulnerability I know it well Its an exuisite emotion Then she looks up and kind of smiles as if shes picturing something really beautiful Im sure I look confused because I cant imagine what shes picturing Im suddenly concerned for her well being and my ownI said it was excruciating not exuisite I point out And let me say this for the record if my research didnt link being vulnerable with living a Wholehearted life I wouldnt be here I hate how it makes me feelWhat does it feel like Like Im coming out of my skin Like I need to fix whatevers happening and make it betterAnd if you cant Then I feel like punching someone in the faceAnd do you No Of course notSo what do you do Clean the house Eat peanut butter Blame people Make everything around me perfect Control whatever I canwhatevers not nailed downWhen do you feel the most vulnerable When Im in fear I look up as Diana responds with that annoying pause and head nodding done by therapists to draw us out When Im anxious and unsure about how things are going to go or if Im having a difficult conversation or if Im trying something new or doing something that makes me uncomfortable or opens me up to criticism or judgment Another annoying pause as the empathic nodding continues When I think about how much I love my kids and Steve and how my life would be over if something happened to them When I see the people I care about struggling and I cant fix it or make it better All I can do is be with themI seeI feel it when Im scared that things are too good Or too scary Id really like for it to be exuisite but right now its just excruciating Can people change that Yes I believe they canCan you give me some homework or something Should I review the data No data and no homework No assignments or gold stars in here Less thinking More feelingCan I get to exuisite without having to feel really vulnerable in the process NoWell shit Thats just awesomeIf you dont know anything about me from my other books my blog or the TED videos that have gone viral online let me catch you up If on the other hand youre already a little ueasy from the mention of a therapist skip this chapter entirely and go straight to the appendix about my research process I have spent my entire life trying to outrun and outsmart vulnerability Im a fifth generation Texan with a family motto of lock and load so I come by my aversion to uncertainty and emotional exposure honestly and genetically By middle school which is the time when most of us begin to wrestle with vulnerability I began to develop and hone my vulnerability avoidance skillsOver time I tried everything from the good girl with my perform perfect please routine to clove smoking poet angry activist corporate climber and out of control party girl At first glance these may seem like reasonable if not predictable developmental stages but they werethan that for me All of my stages were different suits of armor that kept me from becoming too engaged and too vulnerable Each strategy was built on the same premise Keep everyone at a safe distance and always have an exit strategyAlong with my fear of vulnerability I also inherited a huge heart and ready empathy So in my late twenties I left a management position at ATT got a job waiting tables and bartending and went back to school to become a social worker When I met with my boss at ATT to resign Ill never forget her response Let me guess Youre leaving to become a social worker or an MTV VJ on Headbangers Ball Like many of the folks drawn to social work I liked the idea of fixing people and systems By the time I was done with my bachelors degree BSW and was finishing my masters degree MSW though I had realized that social work wasnt about fixing It was and is all about contextualizing and leaning in Social work is all about leaning into the discomfort of ambiguity and uncertainty and holding open an empathic space so people can find their own way In a word messyAs I struggled to figure out how I could ever make a career in social work actually work I was riveted by a statement from one of my research professors If you cant measure it it doesnt exist He explained that unlike our other classes in the program research was all about prediction and control I was smitten You mean that rather than leaning and holding I could spend my career predicting and controlling I had found my callingThe surest thing I took away from my BSW MSW and PhD in social work is this Connection is why were here We are hardwired to connect with others its what gives purpose and meaning to our lives and without it there is suffering I wanted to develop research that explained the anatomy of connectionStudying connection was a simple idea but before I knew it I had been hijacked by my research participants who when asked to talk about their most important relationships and experiences of connection kept telling me about heartbreak betrayal and shamethe fear of not being worthy of real connection We humans have a tendency to define things by what they are not This is especially true of our emotional experiencesBy accident then I became a shame and empathy researcher spending six years developing a theory that explains what shame is how it works and how we cultivate resilience in the face of believing that were not enoughthat were not worthy of love and belonging In I realized that in addition to understanding shame I had to understand the flip side What do the people who are the most resilient to shame who believe in their worthinessI call these people the Wholeheartedhave in common I hoped like hell that the answer to this uestion would be They are shame researchers To be Wholehearted you have to know a lot about shame But I was wrong Understanding shame is only one variable that contributes to Wholeheartedness a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness In The Gifts of Imperfection I defined ten guideposts for Wholehearted living that point to what the Wholehearted work to cultivate and what they work to let go of Cultivating Authenticity Letting Go of What People ThinkCultivating Self Compassion Letting Go of PerfectionismCultivating a Resilient Spirit Letting Go of Numbing and PowerlessnessCultivating Gratitude and Joy Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the DarkCultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith Letting Go of the Need for CertaintyCultivating Creativity Letting Go of ComparisonCultivating Play and Rest Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self WorthCultivating Calm and Stillness Letting Go of Anxiety as a LifestyleCultivating Meaningful Work Letting Go of Self Doubt and Supposed ToCultivating Laughter Song and Dance Letting Go of Being Cool and Always in ControlAs I analyzed the data I realized that I was about two for ten in my own life when in comes to Wholehearted living That was personally devastating This happened a few weeks before my forty first birthday and sparked my midlife unraveling As it turns out getting an intellectual handle on these issues isnt the same as living and loving with your whole heartI have written in great detail in The Gifts of Imperfection about what it means to be Wholehearted and about the breakdown spiritual awakening that ensued from this realization But what I want to do here is to share the definition of Wholehearted living and share the five most important themes that emerged from the data and which led me to the breakthroughs I share in this book It will give you an idea of whats ahead Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness It means cultivating 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 Its going to bed at night thinking Yes I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesnt change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belongingThis definition is based on these fundamental ideals Love and belonging are irreducible needs of all men women and children Were hardwired for connectionits what gives purpose and meaning to our lives The absence of love belonging and connection always leads to sufferingIf you roughly divide the men and women Ive interviewed into two groupsthose who feel a deep sense of love and belonging and those who struggle for ittheres only one variable that separates the groups Those who feel lovable who love and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging They dont have better or easier lives they dont have fewer struggles with addiction or depression and they havent survived fewer traumas or bankruptcies or divorces but in the midst of all of these struggles they have developed practices that enable them to hold on to the belief that they are worthy of love belonging and even joyA strong belief in our worthiness doesnt just happenits cultivated when we understand the guideposts as choices and daily practicesThe main concern of Wholehearted men and women is living a life defined by courage compassion and connectionThe Wholehearted identify vulnerability as the catalyst for courage compassion and connection In fact the willingness to be vulnerable emerged as the single clearest value shared by all of the women and men whom I would describe as Wholehearted They attribute everythingfrom their professional success to their marriages to their proudest parenting momentsto their ability to be vulnerableI had written about vulnerability in my earlier books in fact theres even a chapter on it in my dissertation From the very beginning of my investigations embracing vulnerability emerged as an important category I also understood the relationships between vulnerability and the other emotions that Ive studied But in those previous books I assumed that the relationships between vulnerability and different constructs like shame belonging and w.

Daring Greatly : How the Courage to be Vulnerable

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