I recently attended a Zoom workshop featuring a video of Brene Brown (a research professor and NYT bestselling author) speaking to educators on the power and affects of courage, vulnerability, and shame. Her wisdom opened my eyes as to how I can improve myself and my treatment of others. In the challenging times we are facing, I thought I’d share my interpretation of her enlightening ideas. I’d recommend watching her ‘Daring Classrooms’ video and discussing her work. I’ve listed links below my notes.
*Courage is defined by four elements:
Vulnerability-show up and let people in (uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure)
Clarity of Values
Rising Skills (Resilience)-you get back up after you fall
From vulnerability comes love, belonging, and joy. Joy is the hardest emotion to enjoy, as in order to lean into joy, you need to have gratitude. Too many of us sacrifice feeling gratitude and create imaginary dress rehearsals for tragedy. It’s that old tale of leaning over your darling baby, lovingly staring at their cute little button nose, then imagining all sorts of unlikely, bad things which could happen. Been there? Don’t squander joy–build a reservoir of gratitude, as it can help you get over real tragedy.
Too often shame gets in our way. But here’s the key: shame does not survive after being spoken. It requires you to believe you are alone in order to maintain power. We put up three types of shields to defend ourselves from shame:
Move away=keep it a secret, hide, get quiet, disappear (or slump, wear hoodies, etc.)
Move toward=people pleasing/over apologizing (I’m really sorry…)
Moving against=shaming another and using anger to combat shame. You wanna dance, we’ll dance and then I’ll annihilate you. What kind of thing was unleashed?
The antidote to shame is empathy. “Hey, you’re not alone.” “Me too.” Remove judgement. The attributes of empathy are perspective taking, staying out of judgement, recognizing emotion, communicating emotion, and mindfulness. There is empathetic failure when you minimize someone’s pain. (It’s good, it’ll be OK.)
Courage, empathy, trust, innovation, feedback, problem solving, ethical decisions and creativity all require vulnerability. I hope these notes inspire you to visit her site or watch the video.