On Shame and Vulnerability

This Ted Talk from BrenĂ© Brown really had an impact on me. I ran across it a few months ago, and I’ve now read most of her books. I’m now a huge fan of vulnerability. Willingness to be vulnerable is one of the most courageous things a person can do. You can’t be vulnerable without crashing head first into your own deepest pits of personal shame, though. Willingness to work through your own shame in order to remain in a place where you feel vulnerable so as to remain open to connections to other human being is one of the most courageous things you can do.

I’ve been thinking about these issues a lot lately. I’ve been through a lot of changes this year, and there’s nothing quite like change to bring out the insecurities. BrenĂ© Brown has helped through the transitions.

That’s why I thought about her talks on vulnerability and shame today when I needed to write a sample essay for my students. You can read my essay about understanding shame on Scribd.

Courage is writing an essay about things that make you feel ashamed and sharing that essay with a room full of students. I’m not sure posting that essay online for others to read even qualifies as vulnerable and courageous, though. I may have moved into just plain crazy territory now.

I hope you enjoy my essay. I hope that if it triggers any of your own shame buttons, you will remember that vulnerability is courage.

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