Day 16: What I learned from watching Brene Brown’s Ted talk “Listening to shame”

Can I ask you a question? Are you a vulnerable person? Do you let this vulnerability define who you are and what you do? In a positive way or a negative way?  Since we are talking about raw emotions what about shame? Are you the type of man or woman that looks into the mirror and sees shame reflected back at them?  As you have probably already figured out  for day 16 of 365 Days of Ted I have chosen the theme of shame and vulnerability inspired  by a Ted talk by Brene Brown called “Listening to shame.” This talk goes much deeper than most Ted talks I have discuss so far but hey, it’s day 16 already, let’s get serious!

What I learned from watching Brene Brown’s Ted talk “Listening to shame”

The biggest lesson I took away from this presentation was that in order to understand how tight a negative grip vulnerability has on your life you first need to understand what  your actual definition for vulnerability is. Brene asked the audience to raise their hands if they agreed with the statement that ‘vulnerability is weakness.’ Most of the audience raised their hands. This is a dangerous myth Brene warns and shares her definition of vulnerability which is that vulnerability is an ‘emotional risk, exposure and uncertainty’ and our ‘most important measure of courage’

We need to stop thinking of vulnerability as being a bad thing.  After this talk I started to reflect upon time  I felt vulnerable and guess what, I had an aha  moment – sorry for the cringeworthy word.  Most of the moments in my life where I felt vulnerable it was actually because I was embarking on a moment of change, growth or sharing a part of my work. Perhaps I was about to give a speech, pitch for funding or  launch a new blog. This is not weakness this is courage. Vulnerability is courage.

What about shame

Shame and vulnerability go hand in hand and Brene makes an important distinction about shame not being the same thing as guilt. Shame is a focus on one’s self and guilt is a focus on behaviour. Shame is not reserved for one gender – we all experience shame at some stage of our lives and usually it falls into two traps

1)You’re not good enough

2: Who do you think you are?!

This shame can hold us back from really doing good things with our lives.   Shame can be a barrier for trying new things for fear of failure and the shame that can bring.   Brene makes reference to every Ted speaker that she has ever listened to has all experienced failure at some point and jokes that Ted is really the failure conference, but that’s okay.  If we fear failing and associate shame with failure then we would never try and never aspire to reach our potential.

Today’s action step

For today’s action step I want to really reinforce my newly established definition around being vulnerable. As soon as I hit publish I plan to list 3 events in my life that made me feel vulnerable and look at it through the lens of courage.