I am not a fluffy, happy-clappy, mantra-spouting hippie chick. My general look of haphazard, boho-motherdom is really just a result of laziness – the clothes are comfortable and I don’t have the strength of will to tiger-mother my children. Besides the children are as stubborn and strong-willed as I am, but, of course, I blame those tendencies on their father.
So when the schedule at Hive 2014, a recent blogging conference, indicated that Katie Tregeddin from Confessions of a Design Geek was going to do a talk about finding your inner voice, my initial reaction was aaaargh. Katie, however, started with a TED Talk by Dr. Brene Brown. Dr. Brene Brown is a researcher of shame-and-vulnerability at the University of Houston and her TED Talk has been watched by more than 7 million people.
Brene is a smart, witty and very down-to-earth Texan professor – something of a cross between the wit of Ellen, the intelligence of Jon Stewart and the empathy of Oprah. I was immediately captivated by her talk.
Here are some of the take-away points from the talk which made a real impact on me:
- The feeling of connection is what makes the world go around by giving purpose and meaning to your life.
- Shame is our fear of disconnection. E.g., if someone else knows X about me, they will run screaming in the opposite direction and so let’s keep X quiet.
- Underlying this feeling of shame is the feeling that we are not good enough (in other words, vulnerability).
- We protect ourselves from vulnerability with perfectionism, numbing and foreboding joy.
- Perfectionism is self-explanatory. It’s the hypercritical voice in your head. Numbing is when you over-eat, shop, drink etc to escape feeling something or even anything. Foreboding joy is worrying about what can take away the joy you experience at a particular moment. I’m guilty of all three (not necessarily together!). For example, when the twins were babies, I would hover over them to watch them sleep just to make sure they were still breathing.
- You can’t, however, selectively numb emotion. You will be inadvertently numbing joy, gratitude and other good emotions as well.
- Let the real you be seen even if it makes you vulnerable. Believe that you, even with all your imperfections, are enough.
This talk by Brene Brown is one of the best things I’ve listened in a long time. Thanks to Katie for introducing me to it because there was no way I would ever have clicked on something entitled “the power of vulnerability” on Youtube on my own.
I encourage you to listen to the whole talk. I’m willing to bet that you’ll be glad you did.