This International Women's Day I am reflecting on the women who have influenced my life both good and bad, and I know that I am most inspired by the women (and men) that choose to value emotions on a level with intelligence, empathy on a level with analysis and the heart as equal to the head. Those who choose to admit vulnerability by being authentic in the moment.
So my thoughts for the day come from the incredible Dr. Brené Brown on the courage to be vulnerable.
We numb vulnerability, we hide away from our fears and repress our anxiety. We try to find certainty in an uncertain world, we try to find blame to off load our anger and discomfort, we constantly aim for perfection, we pretend that our behaviour doesn't have an impact on people, 'that it's business not personal'. But this is not realistic and it does not bring happiness.
Brené Brown's research and book Daring Greatly, 2012 inspires us all to connect and find our place of vulnerability. In relation to vulnerability, Brown discusses two issues - the importance of human connection, and our struggle with shame. Shame is the fear of disconnection - the voice that says "is there something about me that makes me unworthy of connection?". Underpinning this is the fear of vulnerability - the fact that in order to truly connect with people we have to be seen, open ourselves to others. Therefore to connect we must become vulnerable.
Of all the people Brown talked to in her research, she found that people who had a true sense of worthiness were those that had strong sense of love and belonging. Those that were able to find connection were those that felt they were worthy of it.
Worthiness is whole heartedness:
- Courage - to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart and the courage to be impercet
- Compassion - the ability to be kind to yourself first and then to others
- Connection - as a result of authenticity - be willing to let go of who you think you should be, in order to be authentically who you are
- Fully embracing vulnerability - what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful - be authentic, be real, admit imperfection - to be vulnerable means you are alive
- Whole heartedness - love with you whole heart, practice gratitude and joy - even in moments of terror, believe that you are enough...
Read more about Brown's work, read her book, Dare Greatly and find your way to embrace vulnerability in order to find purpose and connection in your life. And remember to support others around you in the process...