Dr. Brené Brown has scientifically studied
vulnerability over the past twelve years and has come up with some very interesting
findings in relation to our experience of vulnerability and its impact on our
Many of us avoid vulnerability out of fear of injury or humiliation. We shut down and don’t embrace our vulnerability, thinking it’s weak, shameful, embarrassing or faulty. Experiences in our past have led us to these conclusions and beliefs about vulnerability…it isn’t safe, it’s too scary, it’s too dangerous, I will get hurt….again.
I have said to clients in their therapy session, “it sounds as though you are putting your pearls before swine”…meaning, you are being vulnerable with people or in places and situations where you are not emotionally safe. It only reinforces your belief that it is not safe to be vulnerable.
But when and where and with whom it IS SAFE, vulnerability can open our hearts and allow for a deeper, more profound connection. It can enhance one’s experience of intimacy and lead to a deeper of sense of loving and being loved. The trick is being able to discern for yourself who and when and where that is.
Dr. Brené Brown’s research says “we try to ward off disappointment with a shield of cynicism, disarm shame by numbing ourselves against joy, and circumvent grief by shutting off our willingness to love. When we become aware of these patterns, we begin to become conscious of how much we sacrifice in the name of self-defense—and how much richer our lives become when we open ourselves to vulnerability.”
The word she uses to describe people who can
live from a place of vulnerability is wholehearted. She says that
being wholehearted is a practice—one that we can choose to cultivate through empathy, gratitude, and awareness of our vulnerability triggers. She offers profound insights on leaning into the full spectrum of emotions—so “we can show up, let ourselves be seen, and truly be all in.”
I recommend a viewing of her full TED talk on Vulnerability on Youtube and if you wish to personally explore, customize and optimize your own wholehearted living I would be happy to work with you, either individually or as a member of my upcoming group on Exploring Vulnerability Through Creativity and The Body.