A friend led me to a TED talk “Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability.” I absolutely love TED talks so I was eager to learn what I was about to learn. She shared that those who “had it together” felt worthy. She studied those who felt worthy and those who felt shame and fear.
Shame and fear are things that I’m acutely familiar with. Brene found that “the things that underpinned [shame and fear] is excruciating vulnerability. In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen – really seen.” She further explains “The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they are worthy.”
She goes on to say “The one thing that keeps us out of connection is the fear that we are not worthy of connection.” In her study, the people who felt that they are worthy, “what they had in common was a sense of courage.” She also discovered that “these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect.”
Brene shared a story where she shared her findings that “vulnerability is kind of the core of shame, and fear, and our struggle for worthiness. But it also appears it is also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.”
I look at my life. I have put myself in incredibly vulnerable situations. I have been exposed to, and have learned to learn from, many different cultures: the “outside” world – what I have since referred to as “the real world” (which there are many different types of what we might consider to be “the real world”); many different work environments and situations; many different locations within the United States here and abroad; exposure and escape from all types of abuse possible. I’ve gained and regained friends from all races and backgrounds. I have bravely tried random churches and healing venues to find healing, answers, and meaning to life. I’m even blogging about what I think, feel, and have experienced for the world to see – an extremely vulnerable and scary thing to do.
I feel like I’m trying desperately to find answers and healing. It’s been a long, intense struggle that I strongly feel needs to end. I’ve come a very long way. I want to come to the top of the mountain, for me to find a heaven on earth.
In her TED talk, Brene suggests that not finding peace is related to numbing emotions. I don’t feel like I’m numbing emotions. However, I really don’t want to feel vulnerability, shame, grief, or fear. I put myself in situations in the effort to heal, to make myself feel and experience those things, but it’s still not working to the end goal of peace, joy, love, harmony. I make myself believe I am doing that. I’m always looking for ways to be grateful. I’m always looking for positivity. I’m always looking out for others and am able to help them – until recently while I’m trying to heal myself –for good. I’m always putting myself in vulnerable situations.
There are many times when I feel intense happiness, gratitude, peace, joy, and love. However, with all these scenarios of abuse, it’s just not happening on a consistent basis. And, when I’m digging up shit to find healing, well, it’s tough to find the good things life has to offer. However, I’m always looking, always searching, always trying to “be.” It strongly appears that I am missing something.
One thing Brene Brown suggests is to love myself. I am certain Louise Hays agrees with her. Louise Hays also suggests gratitude to be the ticket. The Christian Bible adds the tasks of asking, knocking and seeking.
Brene goes on to suggest, based on her research, that those who feel worthy “fully embraced vulnerability.” She shares: “They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable. Nor did they really talk about it being excruciating as I had heard it earlier in the shame interviewing. They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say ‘I love you first.’ The willingness to do something where there were no guarantees. The willingness to breathe through waiting for your doctor to call after your mammogram. The willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. They thought this was fundamental.”
I have all of it down except the willingness to have another negative experience. I also don’t have the “I love you first” down yet either. I can share compassion, care, and help towards others (except, as of recently, for one-way friends, friends who are going through things that I just can’t help them with, friends who blame me or accuse me of ridiculous stuff related to their own craziness, or friends who are spinning their wheels). I’m coming to the point where I’m beginning to love myself, but I have a very long way to go. It is much easier for me to say “I hate myself” rather than, as Louise Hays and her friends suggest, to truly and authentically believe, “I love and accept myself just the way you are.”
And so I find myself in front of the mirror, attempting to reverse brainwashing – through self-induced brainwashing – by applying Louise L. Hay’s suggestion. I stand there and say: “I love you. I really, really love you. You are worthy. You are valuable. You are capable. You are competent. You are loved. You love. You’re a survivor and will continue to survive….” I pray to God it works.I beg to God that vulnerability and self-induced brainwashing will work – and work very, very quickly to start anew. I beg for a feeling of a sense of worthiness and competence, completeness and wholeness – including healing that penetrates and envelops the core of my being. This is what I’m begging for. It took brainwashing and ridiculousness to result in these negative ideas and feelings, and it will take brainwashing and reassurance to heal from – and overcome – this mayhem.
And so, Brene Brown concludes: “And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
May you and I go in peace and love, joy and happiness, gratitude and vulnerability. May you and I love ourselves – truly and authentically love ourselves – just the way we are.