This week, as I often do, I was driving in my car listening to the Oprah station on my radio. And once again, as often happens, the person she was interviewing struck a chord with me. How serendipitous it was that I had been talking just the day before about the EXACT same subject they were discussing!!! Isn’t it funny how these things just drop out of the sky when you need them?!!! The subject was vulnerability. And just the night before I heard the interview, I was explaining to some friends that being vulnerable is a good thing and they should try it. I said people are more likely to connect with you if you allow yourself to be vulnerable…. I sure as heck didn’t know there was proven research on this. Isn’t it nice when real data backs up your opinions!!!
Anyway, on to the meat of my post… Oprah’s interview was with a researcher by the name of Brené Brown. I’d never heard of her but apparently she did a pretty famous TED talk on vulnerability back in 2010. You know how it is in the car… I picked up at some point in the middle of the interview and didn’t catch all of it, so as soon as I had the chance, I got on the internet, googled her and watched her Ted talk.
I don’t know about you but I find this stuff FASCINATING. I also thought it was funny because she started her career as a social worker, and that’s what I wanted to be, but my parents talked me out of it because they said I’d never make any money doing it. Maybe they were right about the money part but there’s something to be said about being passionate about your work.
Back to the point of my post today which is to touch on the highlights from Brené Brown’s talk…. Her research showed that people who are vulnerable have 3 things in common:
COURAGE, COMPASSION, CONNECTIONS
She covers the meaning of these words as follows:
She says the true definition of courage is “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” She defines compassion as being kind to yourself first. And that connections means you have the ability to let go of who you think you should be and connect with others by being authentic.
She has a term for people with these qualities. She calls them WHOLE-HEARTED. And she also says that whole-hearted people embrace vulnerability.
What whole-hearted people have is common is:
In my job as a health & fitness coach, I encourage people to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is scary because you are taking a risk that people won’t like you, that you won’t live up to the image you try to project or that you want people to see. But, once you are vulnerable, the floodgate to true connection with other humans will open, and you will wash in the pure joy of being the REAL YOU.
Is it scary? You bet! Is it rewarding? Unbelievably so! Is it worth the risk? Abso-friggin-lutely!!!
After this week’s whisper from the universe, I plan to work harder to practice being vulnerable, and I encourage those of you who avoid vulnerability to take a step outside of your comfort zone. Start living with your whole heart!!!