witifulramblings

Day 59: on being wholehearted

In Blogging, Esteem, Faith, Happiness, Humanity, Laughter, Love, Men, TED Talks, Women on July 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Today I am on a flight, again.

I had the privilege of visiting NY, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, all in less than 5 days–whirlwind trip. Very fun, though.

What I am thinking about mostly right now, though, is a TED talk that I listened to on my flight into JFK. I was having a long day, sleep deprived, and I just happened to snap on one of the 5 free Delta radio channels (for the record Delta is a joke). There came words I needed to hear and I find it no coincidence that I started to listen to that very station when I did. For those of you that know TED talks, the briefers are limited to a less than ten minute time period to present their research in the most imaginable and insightful way, so the fact that I caught this particular one is quite lucky.

This talk wasn’t focused on the customary scientific findings surrounding most, no, it was centered more on an emotional type of research that could be classified in the psychological jurisdiction; however, I still felt it to fit its own category of sorts having listened to several TEDs and never encountered one quite like this previously.

The speaker, Brenda Brown, was presenting her research on the topic of wholeheartedness. That is, what constitutes a whole hearted individual. She goes on to explain that she had spent several years interviewing several individuals categorized as wholehearted and then those who live, well, unwholehearted. The first problem, if you could call it that, that she encountered in her research was the notion that those who portray a wholehearted esteem recognize that to be wholehearted one must first accept that this requires making everything that you desire to be certain, uncertain. This was problematic for Brenda because, well, she’s a researcher and to be a researcher is to seek the definitive. She segues to note this first encounter required her to take a 2 year research break and attend weekly counseling, lol. However, once she overcame this realization she was able to even further delve into the information that would enlighten her as to what the belief system requires amongst the wholehearted. She goes on to note:

The way to live is not to control and predict, rather, it’s through vulnerability, the wholehearted live with vulnerability because this is the birthplace of love and happiness. The wholehearted let themselves be seen and they love life with their whole hearts even though there is no guarantee. The wholehearted recognize that you cannot selectively numb emotions. You see, when you numb anger, fear, disappointment, you cannot do this without also numbing love, happiness, and laughter. The wholehearted stop catastrophizing and believe in good, they are grateful because of this. They ask themselves, what makes me vulnerable and then they face it head on. They realize that it is this vulnerability that allows them to be them and to live.

Most importantly though, above all else, Brown’s research found that the wholehearted always believe this:

They believe they are enough.

Brown posed the question on her blog, what makes you feel vulnerable? She felt getting to the heart of this might help individuals to reveal their wholehearted nature. She received thousands of responses.

Waiting for doctor results
Initiating sex with my partner
Saying I love you
Getting a mammogram
Going to the doctor
Looking for a job
Going on an airplane

So I pose this question here, what makes you feel vulnerable? How do you find your way through that vulnerability, or do you?

a thinking whit

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  1. Oh gosh, there is so much that makes me feel vulnerable, like, posting my blogs in public forums! I think that the life I’ve lived has made me not allow myself to do things often that make me feel vulnerable, so I guess my answer to your second question is that I don’t.
    There are very, very few people I will allow myself to feel vulnerable in front of, the main one being my husband. The last time I allowed myself to feel that way was shortly after I had my son and was suffering a serious bout of PPD. Not many moms, even friends I had trusted up until then, understood what I was going through and sort of poo-pooed on how I felt because they handled their kids just fine. I guess I’m still reeling from that.
    Not sure I answered your question, but I guess I just made myself vulnerable now. But I’m not embarrassed about PPD.

    • There is definitely nothing to be ashamed of with PPD–my mom had it pretty bad and I am sure it made her feel super vulnerable (although I cannot speak for her because I am not her). But I think that’s the thing about letting ourselves be vulnerable, then we talk with other, and we find out we’re not alone and that is extremely liberating. It’s like me, I have anxiety–that makes me feel vulnerable–both living it and telling people about it for fear that they will look at me differently. Then I started grad school and realized all of these other grad students I work with have it too (they weren’t so held back in talking about it). They didn’t view it as a vulnerability–to them it was an empowering agent that got them to where they were in their education. Then I started seeing it that way too, an amazing thing happened in that I became vulnerable to it and in a lot of ways I was able to overcome it too which in turn made me a happier person. There is so much to be said for humanity and its connective power, my favorite saying–“even if we’re all alone at least we’re in that together too.” Glad you made yourself vulnerable on this forum, and each time you post, because I really enjoy reading your blog!

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