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TED Talk: Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability

January 25, 2011

I’ve been thinking about this great big glorious year we have stretched out before us, and what I want it to be. I was planning to stick to my broad resolutions from last year (be brave and be compassionate) until I watched this video of Brene Brown’s TED Talk on the power of vulnerability:

I will tell you right now that showing my own vulnerability, being vulnerable, is something I find extremely difficult. I want to be – with everyone – as patient, big-hearted and genuine as others have been with me, and I know that allowing myself to be vulnerable is the first step.

Yes, it will be scary. Sometimes terrifying. And sometimes I will want to do what is easy or comfortable or worn-in. (No matter how much I wish my feelings could magically transform themselves into action, as that song lyric that’s stuck in my head goes, good intentions lie dormant.) But I don’t think that a new year’s resolution is worth having if it isn’t something that challenges me, so what better thing to focus on than that big, scary one that has the potential to change the way I am living my life in countless rewarding ways?

One thing that Brown has learned through her research on vulnerability is to “practice gratitude and joy, in those moments of kind of terror when we’re wondering ‘Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ Just to be able to stop and instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say ‘I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.'” I want to know what that feels like, to live like that. I want to live the way that Brene Brown defines courage – the original definition, when it first came into the English language: To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

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