“To feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.” Brene Brown, The Power of Vulnerability.
Belonging and connection is a deep human need. Watch Brene Brown – the researcher-storyteller decode the human connection and offer profound wisdom.

When Brene interviewed people about connection, they told her stories of disconnection and shame. She says “shame is simply understood as the fear of disconnection, the fear that something in me is not worthy or deserving of love and belonging, that feeling of I’m not good enough.

And she found there were two groups of people, one living from not feeling worthy and deserving of love and belonging, and the other group that lives from a belief that they are worthy and deserving of love and she calls them the “whole hearted.”

There are some things we do that keep us living in the first category. We numb our emotions. Brene says, you can’t selectively numb feelings. When we numb the bad feelings, we numb the good stuff too: we numb the joy, we numb the gratitude, we numb the happiness… and then we feel lost and go looking for purpose.

The second thing we do is make the uncertain certain. We say, this is how it is, I’m right and you’re wrong and there’s little discussion.

The third thing we do is we try to perfect, we try to put life in a box and make it look a certain way. But life is messy and complicated. [And with striving to perfect also comes judgements and criticism which can keep us stuck.]

And the third thing we do is to pretend that what we do doesn’t affect others.

These things leave us feeling isolated and disconnected which is the root of loneliness. A recent poll found that the number one social issue facing people today is loneliness, which comes from isolation and lack of connection.

But there’s another way to live as what she calls the whole hearted. The whole hearted are characterized by the courage to be imperfect, they have kindness toward themselves and others, and experience connection as authenticity and they fully embrace vulnerability.

So let’s unravel the mental patterns that the whole hearted are living from.

Courage to be imperfect. This courage comes from knowing that life is messy and its okay. And it also comes from the belief that you are not your mistakes, mistakes are simply a part of learning and growing through life. What “mistakes” are you willing to accept and stop blaming yourself and others for?

Kindness toward self and others and authenticity. To allow ourselves to be seen and to be authentic, we have to like ourselves first. You can’t authentically share yourself if you are ashamed or critical or trying to hide who you are. What is there to appreciate about who you are and what you’ve overcome? What judgements and criticisms are you willing to let go of?

Fully embrace vulnerability. To take risks you have to know that the value of who you are is bigger than your choices and that whatever happens, you are okay and you can trust the process of life. What risks are you willing to take?

Brene says, “To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, to love with our whole hearts even though there is no guarantee, to practice gratitude and joy even in the face of fear.”

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”

What if you didn’t get the messages that you were worthy and deserving when you were growing up? What if it wasn’t okay to make mistakes? What if you internalized criticism and judgement?

Well, that’s just the stuff that I help people change. Beliefs are just mental patterns that your brain learned and it can unlearn them and integrate new ones, even at the unconscious level.

How will you live whole heartedly this week? How will you let yourself be vulnerable? What risks are you willing to take?

I was going to keep this a secret unless I got accepted because it’s safer to share a win than to share a risk. But in the spirit of vulnerability, I will share that I applied to be a speaker at a Tedtalks event – Eeek! What if I don’t get it? What if I DO get it? It’s a mixed bag either way, but that’s my risk this week.

Something to say?