Vulnerability is at the core of many human emotions, and often involves uncertainty, risk and exposure. It’s an acceptance that things won’t always go as planned, but we shouldn’t be scared to take the leap, lest we never discover what’s on the other side.
Woody Allen’s quote comes to mind — “90% of success is showing up.” Showing up, though, is often the hardest thing to do. Going on our first date, taking the step into a management position, giving a speech, or telling someone we love them. All of these activities could potentially hurt us — we are vulnerable — but not doing so is much often worse.
The author Brene Brown critiques our “never enough” culture and how this is harming our general well being, our social lives, our children, and our potential to live our lives to the fullest. She lays out a path that we can take to be more accepting of ourselves and accept vulnerability as a part of life, and a sign of strength.
A great book for anyone, really. Especially those who have been procrastinating or scared to do something lately…or who have spent their childhood growing up in a shame-based, critical environment.
Big ideas from the book:
Never enough culture
What we know matters, but who we are matters more. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable. The first step of that journey is understanding where we are, what we’re up against, and where we need to go. I think we can best do that by examining our pervasive “Never Enough” culture
Research indicates that parenting is a primary predictor of how prone our children will be to shame or guilt. In other words, we have a lot of influence over how our kids think about themselves and their struggles.
Shame and stress
The statistics on post-traumatic-stress-related suicides, violence, addiction, and risk-taking all point to this haunting truth: For soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, coming home is more lethal than being in combat. From the invasion of Afghanistan to the summer of 2009, the US military lost 761 soldiers in combat in that country. Compare that to the 817 who took their own lives over the same period
Another quote from the book:
As parents, we may have less control than we think over temperament and personality, and less control than we want over the scarcity culture. But we do have powerful parenting opportunities in other areas: how we help our children understand, leverage, and appreciate their hardwiring, and how we teach them resilience in the face of relentless “never enough” cultural messages. In terms of teaching our children to dare greatly in the “never enough” culture, the question isn’t so much “Are you parenting the right way?” as it is: “Are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be?”