Brene Brown is a research professor who has spent more than 10 years researching on a range of topics, including vulnerability, courage, w...

Review #1 - Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown

January 23, 2016 Navy Novel 0 Comments

Brene Brown is a research professor who has spent more than 10 years researching on a range of topics, including vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame.

Summary of the Video:

People often think that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness, which results in shame in ourselves. Brene Brown explained that we are ashamed because we think we are not worthy of connection if someone finds out about our weaknesses. What's underlying this feeling is our belief that 'I am not good enough'.

"Being authentic is when we let go of who we thought we should be and be who we truly are."
How we often deal with vulnerability is we numb vulnerability. The bad news is we can't selectively numb our emotions. We can't numb vulnerability, fear, sadness and other negative emotions while still experiencing joy and happiness. There are a few ways we numb our emotions:

- We are addicted in drinking, eating, shopping and so on.
- We make the uncertain CERTAIN. We conclude on topics and don't encourage further discussion. We blame people. For example, we decide our judgement on people around us.
- We train our children to be hardwired for struggle. We teach them how to 'win' in life but we don't teach them how to enjoy life.
- We pretend. We pretend what we do does not have an effect on others. We pretend that when we lie, no one would find out.

Ironically, to be vulnerable also means being alive, being able to feel the emotions, the good and the bad. So, allow ourselves to be seen for who we truly are, love with our whole heart even when we may get rejected and lastly, believe that we are enough.


Brene Brown mentioned two phrases that got my interest to look up the Oxford Dictionary. (definition chosen in the context of this video)

1. Vulnerable - Being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or heard emotionally.
2. Whole-hearted - Showing or characterized by complete sincerity and commitment.

As human beings, we are not hardwired to be vulnerable, we are not taught at a young age that connection is important to us. In ancient times, we used to be hunters staying in the caves where survival is essential. Even as of now, while we no longer stay in caves or fight for our survival, our autopilot mode teaches us to survive. We have automatic reflex system to get us out of danger. However, living life as a robot no longer give us our life purpose.

"Life purpose is important to give us meaning to our life, to bring us the joy and fulfillment we want."

When she said that we numb our emotions by perfecting ourselves, I could relate to that. I'm a perfectionist and I hate seeing any flaws in the work I do or in myself. I have low tolerance of myself making mistakes. What's underlying all that is that I don't think I'm good enough YET, at least not to the level that I want to in my head. There's always somewhere to get to, some milestones to achieve.

"Being enough is also being ourselves, giving permission to ourselves to be perfect and imperfect at the same time. "

Being true to ourselves gives us so much freedom in life. It's the expectations that we have for ourselves or expectations that we think others have of us that burden us. It gradually gets more and more tiring as we accumulate these expectations.

However, being true to ourselves also takes courage. Are we not afraid of being judged? Yes, we do! And that's when vulnerability comes in. When we are vulnerable, we may not get it right, we may look really really bad. Yet, we get to fully express ourselves, we get to experience life in so many different dimensions.

Here's an extra thought. Though this video gathered more than 20 million views, in her next video "Listening to Shame", she talks about how she thought the first video was a bad idea. That's when I got that no matter how brilliantly we do, we are always going to diminish the value of our own accomplishments!


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