“Courage: To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”
I heard this during a TED Talk by Brene Brown. She said that is the original definition of courage, which makes sense because the word is from the French word for “heart.”
When I first heard her say this it jumped out at me. I wonder how many of us can truly tell the story of who we are with our whole hearts. I know I don’t do that casually.
Even though I write here almost every day, and it’s something anyone with an internet connection can read, I share only a small part of myself. Or so I think. Some friends who are regular readers tell me I share much more of myself than I think and that if you read here regularly you know a lot about who I am and what I think, feel and believe. That may be true. Obviously, they’re things I’m comfortable sharing.
Brown’s talk is about vulnerability and how essential it is to a feeling of worthiness, and how that is critical for us to feel like we are loved and we belong. In her research, she said what separates the people who have a sense of love and belonging from those who don’t, is that they feel worthy of it.
She says we feel a sense of connection as a result of authenticity. She said we have to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen – to believe we are enough – to believe that our vulnerability makes us beautiful – to make connection.
I have been thinking for the past few years that we are less connected with each other all the time. Maybe that’s because we’re less authentic all the time, too. From the implants in our chins and extensions in our hair, to the loyalty given to the sports teams of schools we never attended and the preference of television shows to real conversation. Maybe this is why people can be close to their family members, but not develop relationships beyond those. After all, our families already know our vulnerabilities so there’s not much point in trying to hide them.
I know that I long for meaningful interactions. Perhaps I need to examine closely if I am being vulnerable enough to find them.
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