Then I’ve watched, after a long time actually, her Ted talk about vulnerability.
Right afterward, I’ve got her book The Gifts of Imperfection. It was amazing. Some of the most profound lessons I’ve learned from that book were about perfection and numbing emotions.
The pursuit of perfection is a form of shame. It means you want to perform and please, not improve and excel. If you numb the difficult painful emotions, you will not be able to tolerate the strong, positive emotions and you are more likely to numb them as well.
For Daring Greatly, it’s was one hell of a ride.
Shame is a universal emotion. We all feel it. And when we add up that our culture is promoting scarcity, we easily can feel shame and feel that we are not good enough.
I believe what Daring Greatly taught me was: don’t stigmatize yourself for having problems and issues. I had this idea before but this book made me deeply believe in it because I’d seen how destructive shame and stigma can be.
Here are some of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned.
- Vulnerability can be looked at as a weakness, especially when shown by men. But it’s not. Lack of vulnerability will make you suffer ten times worse.
- Being vulnerable, however, is not easy and all of us struggle with it. It’s not that some of us struggle less with it and find it easy to do. It’s just some of us choose to go down the difficult path and dare greatly.
- Our culture and societies are fucked up. Being shame-driven and vulnerability-lacking, they are far away from helping us develop a healthy self-esteem.
- Faking who you are may work in the short term. But it’s never going to make you love yourself or make other people love you.
- Shame is at the root of every self-esteem problem. And the less you talk about it, the more you have it.
Sometimes it felt that what Brene was saying was close to clichés. It’s like she is emphasizing the idea of being weak and accepting yourself. Or maybe I felt that because I’m a guy and, as she said, men are taught to look down at vulnerability.
Also, at many times, I felt that some of her lessons and practices are better practiced by women rather than men. Largely because of the cultural conditioning. But then I thought, “Hey, maybe this stems from the fact that I can’t be vulnerable.”
And frankly, I don’t know. What I do know is that I have a problem with vulnerability. At least in specific areas in my life. And until I get over the fear of being vulnerable, I’ll never be able to know whether Brene was taking the “vulnerability concept” to extreme or not.
But all in all, it’s a wonderful journey and you’ll discover a lot about yourself, your emotions, your shame, your joy, the culture, and the world around you.
Articles that are inspired by this book:
Since it taught me not to stigmatize myself, here is how that reflected itself in my writing:
Or see the entire Reading List