Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Necessary Ingredient for Growth: Vulnerability

A friend recently sent me a link to a TED video by Brene Brown, a research prof at the University of Houston in Social Work. It might be called "Deconstructing Vulnerability, Constructing Wholeheartedness."  (It's not, though - just called TEDxHouston Brene Brown.)

But that's all by the by.  Just watch the thing:

She makes a compelling argument for vulnerability, the willingness and ability to be vulnerable, as the basis for growth, creativity, joy, belonging, and love.

In the Sweet Medicine SunDance Path, one of the wheels we study is the Blocks to Maturity.  This wheel includes shame, blame, and fear - three things which effectively block our willingness and ability to be vulnerable.

A few months ago, I wrote about our questioning of ourselves regarding whether we are good enough, whether we have what it takes.  This is another take on how to answer that question, through looking at those emotions/reactions which lead us to feel inadequate.  Brown has written extensively on overcoming shame etc., so we can simply recognize that we ARE enough.

But by this, she does not seem to mean the self-satisfied, kick-back-and-wait-to-be-served enough.  She means instead the "enough" that allows us to engage fully in life rather than holding back because we are afraid someone will actually see us.

And that - without that kind of engagement, we just can't grow, we can't learn, we can't become.  We can only exist.

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