Finding our way out of being what our culture expects of us into expressing the truth of who we are can be a difficult path but one of the most rewarding paths to take. This is a wonderful, humorous, insightful talk by Brené who helps guide us down this new path. Her humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.
Some notes from the talk
Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change
Shame - the swampland of the soul - the aim is to put on some galoshes, walk through and find our way around.
Shame drives two big tapes 'you're not good enough" and "who do you think you are?'
Shame is 'I am bad.' Guilt is 'I did something bad.'
If you did something bad, guilt says 'sorry I did something bad.' Shame is 'sorry I am something bad.'
Shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders... Guilt is inversely correlated with those things.
The ability to hold something we've done or failed to do, up against something we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It's uncomfortable but adaptive.
The difference in shame with men and women
Shame feels the same by men and women but it's organised by gender.
For women, shame is 'do it all and do it perfectly and never let them see you sweat.' Shame for women is this unobtainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we are supposed to be... it's a straight jacket.
For men, shame is not conflicting, competing expectations. Shame is 'do not be perceived as weak.'
You show me a woman who can actually sit with a man in real vulnerability and fear, I'll show you a woman who has done incredible work.
You show me a man who can sit with a woman who's just had it. She can't do it all anymore and his first response is not 'I unloaded the dishwasher' but he really listens (because it is all we need), I'll show you a guy who has done a lot of work.
Shame is an epidemic in our culture and to get out from underneath it, to find our way back to each other we have to understand how it affects us and how it affects the way we are parenting, the way we are working, the way we are looking at each other.
There was some research done at Boston College.
The question asked 'What do women need to do to conform to female norms?'
The top answers in America for women - nice, thin, modest and use all available resources for appearance.
'What do men need to do to conform with male norms?'
Men - always show emotional control, work is first, pursuit of status and violence.
If we're going to find our way back to each other we have to understand and know empathy. Empathy is the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs 3 things to grow exponentially - secrecy, silence, and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it cannot survive.
The two most powerful words when we are in struggle 'me too.'
If we are going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path.
It's not about getting perfect before you do things. The truth is, that is not what people want to see. People want to be with you and across from you.
What we want for ourselves, the people we care about and the people we work with to dare greatly.
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