Love and friendship is the source of our greatest joy. And our greatest pain.
Brené Brown’s messages touches my heart and speaks to my sense of life, of friendship and of daring greatly to live and be more than I’ve been before. To be more than I—and others—have assumed I could be.
I first discovered Brené on her first TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability. It has received over 19 million views, so it clearly touched a resonant chord within many of us.
Clearly, she wasn’t doing a rehearsed talk on vulnerability but rather she was epitomizing her concept, even as she spoke it. Since then I’ve read her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.
Excerpt from a TED Blog article by Kate Torgovnick May: “When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make,” says Brown. “Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.”
Whether you’re struggling with anything now, or not, you will benefit immensely from Brené’s TED talk in 2012, titled Listening to Shame. She begins by sharing a conversation with a good friend of hers.
Which, by the way, was inspiring not only because of Brené’s vulnerability in sharing, but also because of her friend. We all need a friend like that. The kind of friend who will never hesitate to speak the truth from her perspective, no matter if it’s pleasing to the ear or not. And yet who loves us anyway… warts, bumps, bloopers and all.
We all need the kind of friend—and to be that kind of friend—who celebrates our victories, cries over our pains with us, and yet always… always speaks her mind, tempered through her heart. Guys too. Guys need that kind of friend, and need to be that kind of friend.
Deep and meaningful friendships that have withstood the test of time have this going for them.
The deep relationships that weather the storms of time, are those built on mutual learning, growth, respect and love…. on an assumption of trust and love. And, someone with whom you can be vulnerable. It is only in our vulnerability that we are truly real.
If we are not truly real together, then who are we?
BUT… Brené also cautions us about vulnerability in her second book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. She says:
“We need to look before we take the vulnerability leap, and choose carefully who we open up to.”
Many people dive in with both feet and a bare heart and share their soul too soon.
In talking with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday, about her Gifts of Imperfection book, Brené Brown elaborates on this, speaking of six types of people as “friends”, some of whom may not be the place you go to be vulnerable.
It is only in true vulnerability that we are ultimately real. Brené Brown
Yet trust not only the fair-weathered friend. If we can trust enough to be vulnerable and safe, known and yet loved, understood, while understanding, and appreciated for who we are, that is a solid foundation.
For growth and progress best friends are cheerleaders and coaches, for from time to time, we all need a hand, a cheer, a mirror, and a boost.
We do not want the friend who will tell us what we want to hear, no matter what they really think, do we? As soon as that happens, a layer of dishonesty enters the relationship and erosion begins.
Oprah asks what Brené is really looking for [in a friend], and Brené says:
“I’m looking for the person who loves me not despite my vulnerability and imperfection, but because of it. I’m looking for what I call my ‘move the body’ friends. I’m looking for the folks who are going to show up and wade through the deep with me… and I think it’s a myth that you should have more than one or two of those.”
Me too, Brené. Thanks for your courage in daring greatly to be vulnerable, and in so doing, to help pave the way for the rest of us.
How about you?