Contemporary wellbeing science has uncovered several universal strengths, identifiable across humanityâa kind of âvalues without bordersâ if you like. Science also suggests that being in touch with your values pays dividends. Big time. People who have identified their values are better able to make choices to support them. Unfortunately too few people spend any real time exploring their own values, thus relying on the values of others to guide them instead.
The purpose of this blog series is to highlight different strengths and values, using a conversation from the Dumbo Feather community to illustrate them. For example you could read about Clare Bowditch and acceptance, or Maria Popova and perspective. The tricky part (or blessing, really) is that the extraordinary people within the Dumbo Feather community are multi-passionate, and display several strengths and values across their work and play. BrenĂ©Â Brown is no exception.
To be honest I could have thrown a dart at a board of human traits, and I’m sure it would have landed on a strength that BrenĂ© has exuded at some stage. Sheâs a storyteller, researcher, speaker, author, and professor among other things. She specialises in what nobodyâs talking aboutâshame. And vulnerability. My admiration for her is long-standing, so when someone suggested I write an article with BrenĂ© as my muse, I froze. Thereâs not really another word for it. I fell deep into analysis paralysis, wondering how I could ever do justice to one of my favourite people. Then I felt foolish because I donât even know BrenĂ©,Â I just feel like I do because sheâs so accessible, despite talking about what everyone wants to hide. The thoughts came rushing at me: who was I to write about BrenĂ©? Who was I to handpick just one value to focus upon when there were so many? Who was IâŠ period? Did I mention she speaks about shame?
So I read Dumbo Feather’s conversation with BrenĂ© again. I chuckled as she identified the patterns I had been experiencing as the exact type of thinking that gets in the way of living a good life. I realised that BrenĂ©Â isnât accessible despite talking about shame; sheâs accessible precisely because she talks about shame. âEveryone is completely feeling isolated and alone and âless-thanâ and these feelings are the one thing we all have in common.â
So while she demonstrates kindness, intelligence, zest, and many other values, itâs her authenticity that really shines bright to me. BrenĂ©Â presents her whole self to the world, openly and honestly. Sheâs not afraid of the dark corners or human underbelly. To the contrary she argues that vulnerability is the very birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change. That weâd all benefit from being more open to the chinks in our armour. âWe hide our vulnerability because its quite a journey to find the âgrown-upsâ who can hold the space and sit into the discomfort with you.â
According to science, authenticity is about emotional genuineness and psychological depth; a type of interpersonal sincerity that allows others to genuinely connect. Anyone who has watched BrenĂ©Â speak at TED knows she has that covered in spades. In a nutshell this is about integrity, which is about wholeness, soundness, and entirety. As BrenĂ©Â explains, âI believe with my whole heart there are only two options; to let what scares us stay inside of usâand fester and grow and takeover everythingâor to share it.â
So heart felt apologies for the delay in this article, analysis paralysis be gone. Here I am though, blogging about BrenĂ©Â Brown, vulnerability and authenticity. Here I am facing up to my âless-than-nessâ and choosing committed action instead. Here I am, as BrenĂ©Â would put it, âdaring greatlyâ to share.