As a continuation of our exploration into Dr. Brene’ Brown’s
work on vulnerability and wholeheartedness and how it intersects with transition and change, today we’ll conclude with a look at connection and embracing our vulnerability.
I had originally considered writing separate posts about each of these concepts, but have since decided that the two are linked, and without one, you can’t really have the other. In her TED talk about vulnerability, Dr. Brown mentions connection as one of three things the people she identified as being “wholehearted” had, and which those who struggled with shame and vulnerability appeared to lack. The other two things were courage and compassion. She also went on to talk about a fourth component; embracing one's vulnerability.
Being at one with our vulnerability.
According to Dr. Brown, people with connection shared their authentic selves with others. In order to do this, they also would have had to have the courage to openly see and accept their true selves, to treat themselves with love and compassion, and to fully accept their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
Each of these elements require an aspect of embracing one’s vulnerability, but that is not what I believe Dr. Brown meant when adding it as a stand-alone characteristic.
Yes, looking deeply into our souls, accepting ourselves for who we are, caring for ourselves as we would our closest friends, and being willing to share ourselves with others openly, without trying to hide our flaws, all require vulnerability. But to truly embrace it requires that we have stepped fully into this space of being vulnerable. That we have absorbed it into the essence of our being. Vulnerability is no longer separate from ourselves.
When we can do this, when we’re at one with vulnerability rather than separate from it, we are able to live in alignment; in full authenticity. This, then allows us to be authentic with others, and to connect with people at a much deeper and more meaningful level as a result. When we connect with people at this level, we are able to feel a sense of love and belonging that might have previously eluded us. A sense of belonging and a sense that we deserve to belong, are key aspects of the wholehearted person, according to Dr. Brown’s research.
I am worthy.
The sense of being worthy, of deserving, is important within the context of change and transition just as courage, compassion and connection are.
Actually, I believe that our ability to believe ourselves worthy and deserving are necessary in order to have most, if not all, of the elements required to achieve wholeheartedness. For if we don’t believe we are worthy of love, belonging, acceptance, self-respect, success, happiness and so on, it makes it very difficult for us to receive those things.
And to believe we’re unworthy suggests that we haven’t fully accepted all aspects of ourself; that there is more work to be done in that area, which also means we are unable to share our true selves with others, because we’re still ashamed of whatever it is that makes us feel unworthy.
How does all of this relate to change & transition?
I feel like I’m getting too philosophical here, so will try to clarify my point before concluding this post: If we want a smooth transition to change, we first must:
What do you think?
Until then, what makes you feel connected to, or distant from others? Do you believe there’s a relationship between courage, compassion, connection and our ability to be wholehearted? I invite you to share your thoughts. Let’s have a conversation!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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