Tag Archives: vulnerability

Do Women Really Want Men To Be Vulnerable?

I'm a big fan of Brené Brown's TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability. I keep coming back to watch it again every few months, and it never fails to move me each time I do. It reminds me that authenticity, connection and vulnerability are the keys to freedom while guilt, fear, shame and disconnection are the bars of the jail cell in which I've lived so much of my life. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend you watch it now.

And then watch this awesome follow-up titled Listening To Shame where Brené talks about the impact on her life of having the first talk go viral. After telling the conference of her research-induced breakdown (a.k.a. spiritual enlightenment), the video went viral with four million hits on the Internet. She went into a meltdown and didn't leave the house for three days because of a vulnerability hangover. That's the feeling that we get when we reveal something we're ashamed of in front of other people. It's the reason we avoid revealing our true selves to others: we know there's likely to be an unpleasant emotional reaction within us at the thought of other people knowing the parts of us and our story that we don't like.… Continue reading…

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Do You Avoid Love For Fear Of Getting Hurt?

Everything we do is motivated by one of two things: seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. It's not entirely black and white since sometimes it's a mix of both, but usually one or the other is the dominant factor. Some of us tend to be more motivated by pleasure and others more motivated by pain.

Our actions are always motivated by how we expect to feel, and this basically comes down to pleasure versus pain. Yet the two go hand-in-hand: many of the most pleasurable experiences in life involve the risk of pain.

Another way of looking at this is love versus fear. We're either acting out of love, or we're acting out of fear. Perhaps it's a combination of the two. Often we're not even aware of the underlying motivation but if we look closely we can see that it's usually one or the other.

Acting out of love means being vulnerable and since this exposes us to the risk of painful rejection we often don't want to risk it. It seems easier and feels safer to be defensive and act out of fear. But when we do this we miss out on loving and being loved. Our willingness to risk being vulnerable determines how much love we get.… Continue reading…

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The Simple Secret to Self-Esteem

Most of my life I've struggled with finding self-esteem and although my life is still a work-in-progress, I believe I've finally discovered the simple secret to self-esteem. I could write a book on it, but I think the shorter the book the more powerful it would be and I can cover the whole deal in one short article. As a bonus, I'm even going to throw in the cure for loneliness. So here goes:

Self-esteem is really about self-acceptance. This needs to come from within us, because when our self-acceptance is based on external reinforcement we are always at the mercy of circumstances outside our control such as other people's opinions and random events in our life.

Our deepest, most powerful internal experience of ourselves comes from how we feel. While we aren't our feelings, they are a true reflection of our core experience in any moment.

We also have a fundamental need as humans to connect with other people, so our ability to connect in general has a huge impact on the way we see ourselves. While we don't want our self-esteem to be dependent on what other people think or feel about us, connecting with other people fulfills this basic need and gives us a powerful emotional reinforcement.… Continue reading…

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Courage, Vulnerability and Connection vs Shame and Guilt

I'm a big fan of TED talks, and I love the speakers who have the confidence and courage to talk directly from the heart. One of my favorites in Brené Brown's speech The Power Of Vulnerability, which you may have heard me rave about before. Every time I watch this speech, I find it connects me to a deeper to my own feelings of fear and shame around being vulnerable.

I'm still working on overcoming my deeply rooted fear of other people knowing how I'm feeling, and for me this is the essence of vulnerability. Watching this speech moves me to tears and I know that means that I'm healing my own fear and shame around feeling vulnerable in the past, which leaves me feeling more confident for the future. Which is why I keep coming back to this talk every few months for more.

Brene's research into human connection and vulnerability led her to explore the emotions of guilt, and it's rarely discussed cousin: shame.

Connection with others gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It's why we're here. When you ask people about love, they tell you about heartbreak. When you ask people about connection, they tell you about disconnection.… Continue reading…

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