What Brene Brown says:
Connection is why we're here
But shame = fear of disconnection
Everyone has shame. The only people without shame have no capacity for empathy
No one wants to talk about shame but the less you talk about it, the more you have it
For connection to happen you have to be allowed to be seen
Those who are connected have a sense of worthiness, a strong sense of love and belonging
They exhibit these factors
Courage (wholeheartedness) to be imperfect
Compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others
Connection as a result of authenticity. They let go of who they *should* be to be who they are.
Fully embraced vulnerability - what made them vulnerable made them beautiful
We numb vulnerability
We are the most in debt, obese, addicted and medicated cohort in US history
So we numb it
Trouble is, you cannot selectively numb emotion
We make the uncertain certain
This is what religion and politics have become
We pretend - that what we do doesn't have an effect on people
What we need is to...
Let ourselves be seen
Love with our whole hearts
Practice gratitude, lean into joy
Believe I am enough
Inspiring stuff. Some apt observations. But let's think for a second. Isn't this an empirical researcher urging us to have metaphysical convictions. We need to believe certain things. And we need to believe them because they seem to work.
Isn't this basically "the power of positive thinking" dressed up a bit?
We want connection, we feel shame, but we need to open up nonetheless because that's what the wholehearted do, and we do so on the basis of the belief that we're worthy of love and belonging.
That last bit seems key for this whole thing to work. But where does it come from?
If I had 5 minutes to talk about vulnerability I think I'd want to take three looks at the cross:
Look 1: Here is the LORD of Glory crucified. Is vulnerability a fundamental value? You bet. Our God was dissected on full view of the world. His vulnerability is glorious. Our vulnerability is God-like.
Look 2: Here is where our sin takes us. And yes I said sin not just shame. We aren't just held back by 'fear of connection' but by dark hearts full of lust and murder. We do not deserve connection but cutting off. Without looking at things through this lens we dress the wound lightly. "Embracing mess and authenticity" sounds like a meaningful Saturday afternoon with college friends around Lattes. Not the diagnosis that can handle, for instance, the addictions Brown mentions.
Look 3: Here is the Lord's love for the dark-hearted. Unconditional, counter-conditional grace for the disconnected. Brown hopes we'll value ourselves first and then others. But deserved love is not the sort of love we're inclined to pass on. "I'm worth it" terminates on me. It's only grace that really spreads.