"It is not the critic who counts. It is not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done it different. The credit belongs to the person who’s actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again and again, and who, in the end, while he may know the triumph of high achievement, at least when he fails, he does so daring greatly."
– Theodore Roosevelt –
A few days ago I had a difficult group training experience in my professional activity. A public not motivated, not engaged, not receptive, not present. During the break, to take a step back on the situation I called my colleague Corinne, an expert in conflict management, who said to me: "You will go back to the room, you will sit and you will tell them how you feel and what you are living right now. * Moment of panic * ... Great breathing, sweaty hands, trembling legs ... but I went back, sat down and told them how hard it was for me to do my job positively in these circumstances and how much it I was touched. Vulnerability is exposing oneself emotionally, without knowing the result.
Do you know Brené Brown? Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.
According to her, connection is why we are here on earth. Without connection, life has no longer meaning. Brené Brown has observed that shame is what unraveled connection. Feeling shame is believing that there is something about you that if other people know it or see it, you are not worthy of connection anymore. It's like saying, "I'm not good enough," "I do not worth it." And shame derives vulnerability. That is about this emotion I want to talk about today.
Here are the four assessments she makes:
- Our lives, and our behaviors, are adjusted so that we never feel vulnerability. We numb vulnerability, we put it aside, thus thinking to protect us from sadness, fear, suffering, disappointment ... Unfortunately, and as Brené Brown rightly explains, we cannot selectively numb emotions. If we do not experience sadness, shame, fear, suffering, disappointment, then we do not experience for joy, gratitude, creativity, and happiness either.
- We make everything that is uncertain certain. « I am right, you are wrong ».
- We perfect everything, from our body, to our job, our relationships, our couple, even our children. We have only one mantra : “How do I escape from imperfection?”
- We pretend that what we do does not have an effect on people.
From these findings and through her research in Positive Psychology, Brené Brown studied two groups of people: people who believed they are worthy and felt a strong sense of love and belonging, and people who think they do not worth the love of others. She studied what differentiated the two groups. People who had a strong sense of worthiness have in common the courage, that is, the ability to tell who they really are in an authentic way; compassion, to themselves first; they had connection and finally they completely embraced vulnerability. They considered this last feeling as a necessary one. Engage in a relationship that may not work, ask for forgiveness first, be rejected, invite someone to a date after a divorce, lose your job, apply for a job, regulate tensions in your team, do your coming out, expose yourself, speak up in public, say "I love you" first, wait for the results of your mammogram, share a secret, patch things up with a dear friend, publish an article on your blog ... Vulnerability is everywhere and it is the birth place of joy, belonging, creativity and love.
So, as our Positive Psychology researcher advises, here are some tips to embrace vulnerability:
- Let ourselves be seen, deeply seen
- Love with our whole heart, even if there is no certainty
- Practice gratitude and joy. Stop catastrophizing what might happen and be grateful about what is and who you are.
- Take a chance, because fortune favours the brave
- Be convinced that we are good as we are. « I am enough »
- Choose courage over comfort. Dare, fall, fail, go over critic, take risks.
- Feel vulnerability because being vulnerable is being alive!
Recovered from all the emotions of this difficult professional experience, I realized that talking to the group allowed me to finish the training day more serenely, and above all I learned and experienced one fundamental thing: there is no courage without vulnerability.
"Here is the thing. Vulnerability is hard, and it’s scary, and it feels dangerous, but it’s not as hard, scary or dangerous as getting to the end of our lives and having to ask ourselves: "What if I would have shown up?" "
- Brené Brown -
Thank you Brené Brown for this positive inspiration,