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Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on TED.com

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on TED.com

Over the last several years, I have been given a wonderful opportunity: I’ve been repeatedly attacked by someone in my life, through litigation, character assassination, poison emails, contemptuous letters, and screaming episodes that occur both in public and on the phone.
It has been unpleasant. Often sad. Certain therapists, who are infected with the false notion that “It takes two to tango,” eg, two parties necessarily participate equally in high conflict situations, refuse to see that it is happening. This is one of the problems with current psychotherapy. Fortunately, a few therapists are starting to see beyond those kinds of cheap, untrue platitudes.
So I know for a fact that, in a conflict, if one person wants to fight, the other person’s best efforts at conciliation may fail. Because despite years of my returning kindness for blame and excoriation, the persons involved in this situation are not amenable to any kind of peace. Some people are committed to their own malice, hate, and vengefulness.
The opportunity here, despite the profound discomfort, is to reaffirm my self-worth internally. It’s for me to see myself as worthy of love and connection in the face of someone desperately wanting me to feel unworthy. To do this, I have had to come to some awakenings. One is that other people’s feelings and actions have absolutely nothing to do with me. They do what they do because that’s who they are. Someone who acts with constant nastiness and negativity has that internally with which to act. It’s no reflection of me.
Another awakening is something beautifully articulated in the video above: “Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort.” I never articulated it to myself this way, but I had a sense of it. I came to this understanding, which correlates with the first one, by way of realizing that if even five percent of what these people say about me were true, I would be Adolph Hitler or Genghis Khan. I simply am not.
But they really, really want me to feel bad.
And that is about them, not about me.
So it has been a gift. And it is a gift that has led me deeper into my heart. Because it makes me feel vulnerable, to be so constantly attacked. And in that vulnerability, I have come to recommit to my own courage, to offer myself compassion, and to tell my story with my whole heart. I affirm my imperfections. I love with all that I am despite the lack of guarantees–though, to be sure, this is for me a daily practice, not a fixed endpoint. Another practice I cultivate is one of gratitude.
So I recommend the TED.com video posted above: it’s a shortcut to the learning that I came to via unpleasantness. And it’s great fun! May all who read this blog know their own self-worth, and find in their hearts both their frailty and their lovableness.

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