Far from being an effective shield, the illusion of invulnerability undermines the very response that would have supplied genuine protection.
Having read The Gifts of Imperfection, I decided to read Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. It hit me in the chest with some brutally real quotes. She tackles vulnerability again, but she adds some really good psychological advice to the mix.
Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process.
Sharing our feelings and vulnerability with others is not a requirement for success in life. In fact, Brown implies that it’s healthy to be selective with whom to share vulnerable information and feelings. I would venture to add that those who’ve earned the right to hear certain facts and details are not necessarily family.
With children, actions speak louder than words. When we stop requesting invitations into their lives by asking about their day, asking them to tell us about their favorite songs, wondering how their friends are doing, then children feel pain and fear (and not relief, despite how our teenagers may act).
The bottom line that daring greatly requires worthiness.
I found Daring Greatly very affirming. Setting high goals for yourself requires high self-esteem. The pre-requisite for believing can have and achieve something is believing that you are worth it. Brown also helps draw some connections between vulnerability and depression. Vulnerability is an emotion; suppressing it can cause pain.
Neuroscience advances confirm what we’ve known all along: Emotions can hurt and cause pain. And just as we often struggle to define physical pain, describing emotional pain is difficult.
Brown also addresses the role of perfectionism and vulnerability and emotion. However, I will refer readers to The Gifts of Imperfection again. An important topic that she reviews in this book is the difference between guilt and shame, which I think is super important for individuals to realize. Guilt is “I did something bad.” Shame is “I am bad.” As an English major, I couldn’t help but analyze the two from a grammatical, linguistic, and structural sense.
I remind myself, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” (Cribbed from Voltaire.)
Guilt is tied to “did” a verb of transient action. Shame is connected to “am” a verb that indicates a personal state of being. Unfortunately, many individuals associate states of being with permanence without accounting for personal change. Perhaps this is the connection between vulnerability, emotion, and depression. Locking oneself into permanent states of thinking without accounting for some change or differences can be depressing.
Brown, Brené. Daring Greatly, Penguin Publishing Group , Accessed on Hoopla 2022.
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