Brené Brown rapidly became one of my favorite public figures after I watched a TED talk she gave on vulnerability. She researches vulnerability and shame and how the willingness to be vulnerable and share our truth can erase problems and fears. She wrote a book called Daring Greatly that is in my exponentially growing queue.
The thing about the talk that struck me was that she looked nervous. We assume that all public figures are always rock-solid lecturers—on this day, this was not the case. But something about that fear and having the courage to bust through it anyway inspired me. I have watched many TED talks, but this is the most memorable. Not only did she speak many truths, she got up there and lived that truth. She dared greatly to share her story despite fear.
“The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.” – Brené Brown
But what Brown shares and what I have come to realize—vulnerability allows us to connect. Perfection is boring. People react positively when I show them that I have struggled, and I still feel insecure and lonely, but that I have also shown courage. Because they have had that experience, too.
We live in a scarcity culture. Listen to the media, your peers, your family. We always talk about not having enough. I do not have enough money. I do not have enough friends. I don’t have enough smarts or beauty or talent.
And it all stems from:
I am not enough.
I see this all the time with the people I work with. There’s this undying need to prove to others that we have something of worth, so we beat ourselves up to get to that point.
If I make that team, then they will see that I am good. If I get an A, I will be smart enough. If I get this promotion, then I’ll be able to prove them wrong.
Then we go into the “more” mentality. I need to do more workouts, dieting, and reading. I need to study more. If I have more, then I will be good.
The truth is if we all stood around in a circle and shared our deepest fears, they would more often than not stem from this notion of “scarcity.”
But can’t you see that just by being here and living your story, you are enough? By empathizing, you can have an incredible impact on someone’s life. However, we are all just scared that someone will find out that there’s something in us that’s missing. We are lacking.
I am tired of not being enough. I am enough.
Instead of searching for ways to make yourself good enough, find it within you to help someone else release that fear. If someone you know is struggling from something you have dealt with, reach out to them. Tell him that he is not alone, that you have been there, too. Empathy can heal others, and simultaneously heal yourself. Not only will the other person feel better, but you will feel valued as well.
Whatever it is that holds you back from being yourself, take small steps to face it. Personally, I have a fear of saying the wrong thing. I have replayed conversations in my head for hours afterwards, making sure that nothing I said was harmful in some way. Now, to face this fear, I take improv comedy. If I say something wrong in class many more people know it! But there is something so comforting about knowing that everyone has gotten up there and totally blown it at one point or another.
It’s all about having the courage to step up in the first place.