Friday, May 3, 2013

The case for "Vulnerability!"


Bren Brane Shame

So this video popped up in my Facebook feed recently and it caught my eye, and then my attention: Brene` Brown- Listening To Shame--TEDx.

This annual speakers conference 'Ideas worth spreading' builds community conversations across the globe and attracts some of the brightest minds from everywhere.  TEDx has developed a cult like following. 

So I watched it and found myself drawn to this very simple, yet powerful message...'Listening to Shame.' Hmmm; I thought, where is this going? 

I found a few very distinct and powerful messages here.

First off, vulnerability is good.
Vulnerability is essential to wholesome living.
Vulnerability is a our most accurate measurement of courage.
Vulnerability is not weakness.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.

On shame:
Shame and guilt are two different things.
Shame is a focus on self!
Guilt is a focus on behavior! 

Shame is, "I am bad!" 
Guilt is, "I did something bad!" 

Guilt..."I am sorry, I made a mistake!" 
Shame..."I am sorry, I am a mistake!"

It might seem simple but it is quite easy to feel a degree of failure and 'shame,' about things that don't seem that 'big' in the scheme of things and its lingering effects can be surprising. The fact is, perceived failures can take hold and seep into so many other facets of your life. 

While there may be no element of a mental breakdown in most instances, there might  still be the constant 'hard-on-yourself'  feeling that stays far too long or the judgmental tendencies and the constant measuring of self against others, that may creep up on you.  

In the context of this class, it is easy to feel vulnerable, unsure of if you are hitting the right mark; not being able to fully wrap your arms around the various nodes of 'connecting';  and feeling the energy it gives back.  Absorbing  feedback or the lack of it can make one second guess ones impact. If you are not careful it can have the feel of a mere 'handshake,' rather than a full hug, leaving you with the notion that you haven't really fully experienced it. There are so many places and directions in which to take this course but it can be a bit daunting. As Brene Brown intimates..."vulnerability is not weakness" so, "avoid the vulnerability hangover." 

I can relate to that kind of  hangover. I recently participated in the ESC women of color Personal Learning Assessment Class (PLA) in which you were interviewed by professors on camera and youtubed. The idea was to share within a particular community, the outcomes. Once they were posted, I panicked and almost pulled my permission to broadcast (which I had hesitatingly signed), just at the mere thought of others viewing my most 'vulnerable' moments. I resisted the urge happily however and I am so glad I did. 

Do you agree that we all suffer through these issues of shame, vulnerability and perhaps even some guilt?