Love and Connection - Brene Brown

If you haven't heard about Brene Browns work, prepare to be amazed. Brene is a researcher, social worker, author of five bestsellers, a university professor, a presenter of three very popular TED talks and a 2019 Netflix lecture, a storyteller, has been on many shows and podcasts, and is the CEO of "The Daring Way". Obviously she has been very busy and successful in her work.

She set out to study love and connection, but kept hearing about heartbreak, suffering, and disconnection. She found the core issue in it's many manifestations to be shame: feeling that our basic self is wrong, unworthy, and unlovable. This is a core issue for children of dysfunctional upbringing so an extremely valuable teaching for folks who identify with these issues. 

In her TED Talks she states: "Connection is why we are here. It gives our lives purpose and meaning. It's how we're wired. This is what it's all about. It comes down to shame. The fear of disconnection. No one wants to talk about it, but the less you do the more shame you have. What underpins this shame, this "I'm not good enough" is vulnerability. A sense of worthiness. It also comes down to courage, the ability to tell your whole heart. All of the people who felt love and belonging believed they were worthy of it. That's it. They also had to have compassion to be kind to themselves first, then others. This compassion was grounded in authenticity.

They also embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They knew it was necessary. Vulnerability is the core of shame, fear, and our struggle for worthiness, but it is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love. The problem is you can't numb just your "bad" emotions like grief, vulnerability, shame, and disappointment.  You can't selectively numb. When you numb those, you also numb joy, gratitude, and happiness. 

The other thing we try and do is to make everything that is uncertain certain. And the more vulnerable we are, the more afraid we are. We need to be authentic and real and say we're sorry, we'll fix it. To love with our whole heart even though there's no guarantee. To practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror. Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I stop catastrophizing and say I'm just so grateful. Because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive, that we are enough. We stop screaming and start listening. We're kinder and gentler".

And from "The Call to Courage": "Today I will choose courage over comfort. I will enter the arena. I will choose to be brave. Our capacity for vulnerability is the best indicator of our capacity for courage. The most important thing is to be seen and to really see others intimately, deeply, and clearly. The opposite is fitting in. Joy is the most vulnerable of emotions. The attitude is gratitude as well as vulnerability. No vulnerability equals no creativity, no tolerance for failure, and no innovation. Courage over comfort! I'm going to try. I may fail, but I'm sure not going to stay quiet or still! Brave leaders are never silent around hard things. Our job is to excavate the unsaid. We have to bring our whole selves and lean into the tough conversations, and play BIG!"

Brene has identified a number of myths and truths surrounding courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. The myths are that vulnerability is weakness, we don't need vulnerability, we can go it alone, we can engineer out uncertainty and discomfort, and trust comes before vulnerability. The truths is vulnerability builds sympathy, trust, innovation, creativity, inclusiveness, hard conversations, feedback, problem solving, ethical decision making, love, belonging, and joy. Vulnerability also reduces shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.  

The good news, actually the great news, is that the solution and salvation is in creating community, intimacy, and in particular vulnerability. This can be found in healthy therapy, relationships, and Twelve Step Recovery. Twelve step meetings, studies, co-sponsorships, retreats, conferences, service work, etc. all serve this purpose. She nails the what, and Recovery nails the how, where, when, and with who. That is another story however, found here. Even Brene shares she has found help in AA meetings.

So lets dig in and give you a taste of the great work she has done available through books, videos, and other sources.You can get her work as hardback or paperback books, on Kindle, CDs, downloadable audio content here. You may view her many very popular videos here. The first video ranks as the third most popular TED Talk ever.

Her website also lists the books and videos as well as courageous leadership programs, training and certification for professionals, and a training program for educators. There is also a blog, lots of social media content, speaking event opportunities, free downloads, book reading guides, and lots more linked here.

Take a look at Brene's website and it is obvious she is taking help and healing in many new and exciting places. This is very inspirational for us at Cowboy Dharma, so we're going on a Brene binge! Perhaps there is hope, help, healing, and happiness here for you too. Enjoy!