Another wow, I am so on the edge of my seat watching this website manifest. You are good at creating excitement, exactly what we want, thanks Tina you make it fun. I am truly inspired with what you have done, I love to witness brilliance.
What I learned from Brené Brown about Vulnerability: I am never good enough
Brené Brown studies vulnerability, courage, and shame. She describes courage (from the Latin cor, meaning heart) as telling the story of who you are with your whole heart. This is my story.
A 20-year Repartee
I got my highest grade, ever! 99%!!!
Where did the 1% go?
I got my highest average, ever! 100%!!!
Where did the bonus points go?
I got 109% on my programming project! It'll be demo'ed at Open House.
Where did the 1% go?
I got 150% on my graphic simulation project. It'll be demo'ed at Open House.
Couldn't you have taken on a second project?
I'm starting my web design & strategy company.
Shouldn't you be studying harder?
I'm going to study International Development so I can help save the world.
How are you going to find a job after?
I completed a Bachelor of Engineering with honors & awards.
Did you know doctors make twice more money than engineers?
I put down $10,000 to buy my family a new car.
(No one ever knew this. Not even my parents.)
I'm expanding my web design & strategy company.
Did you find a real job yet?
I'm using my web expertise to help Action Contre la Faim (ACF) eliminate world hunger.
Did you know YouTube sold for $1.65 billion?
I put down $20,000 to buy my family a new house.
(No one ever knew this. Not even my parents)
I'm using my web expertise to help Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) save lives worldwide.
Did you know Microsoft offered Yahoo $44.6 billion?
I bought my first home on my own dime!!!
Why are you getting a mortgage and paying interest?
I'm leading a profitable company to help life and wellness coaches enhance their web presence and bring life abundance to their patients.
You left your 9-5 job? What about your benefits?
Brené Brown & Vulnerability
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Shame is universal. It’s the fear of not being worthy. The less you talk about it, the more you have it. Boy was she right! Turns out, what underpins this fear of not being good enough is vulnerability.
Who's the Other Voice in the Repartee?
At first, it was my dad. Like any typical immigrant parent, he often asked where the 1% went.
Somewhere along the road, it became this inaudible societal voice, telling me who I should be, what I should do.
I couldn't live up to those expectations.
Eventually, the voice became... my own voice...? No matter what I did, I kept hearing, "Not good enough. Still not good enough."
I started resenting my parents for putting so much pressure on me to secure their retirement and my siblings' tuition, on top of my own financial well-being. I silently blamed my family for putting so much pressure on me to fit the school/9-5/marriage/kids mold. I even internally blamed friends for not understanding the demands on me and why I can't go do what I love.
Above all, I blamed myself for not being able to secure my parents retirement, my siblings' tuition, my family's hopes and my friends' dreams for me. I felt so guilty and repressed that I couldn't live up to those expectations.
Blame and Connection
I met Brené Brown's work with tears of gratitude. Her research had finally helped me understand why and how we numb vulnerability: we numb it with blame. Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort.
But, when we numb vulnerability with blame, we numb all our emotions. We numb our sense of worthiness; we numb love, we numb joy, and we numb creativity. And that creates a vicious spiral of feeling even more vulnerable.
Connection is why we're here. It's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. -- Brené Brown, TEDxHouston, 2010
Brené Brown reveals the ingredients to achieve a sense of connection and worthiness:
Tina Chen admits to all the flawed perceptions that lead her to vulnerability and blame:
You must have the courage to be imperfect
I must be a perfect role model in everything that I do
You must have the compassion to be kind to yourself first
I must always put other people first, even if it's at my own expense
You must connect with authenticity (be who you are, not who you should be)
I must hide my insecurities for fear of being seen as weak or unaccomplished
You must pursue passions even though there are no guarantees
I must pursue the safe route that guarantees a bi-weekly paycheck
You must practice gratitude and joy in moments of vulnerability
I must practice gratitude and joy in moments of vulnerability
Most importantly, you must believe that you are enough.
I must do everything it takes to become good enough.
Hey, at least I got one right.
It's THAT Simple
Brené Brown's research shows that people who embrace vulnerability have a strong sense of connection and worthiness. Those who struggle with it, or fight it (as she did/does and as I do), don't have that same sense.
The only difference between the two groups? Belief. The former believed they were worthy of connection and belonging. That's it! They believe. They believe they're worthy. It's that simple.
I'm never good enough. But that's ok.
Blame felt comfortable. Gratitude feels insightful.
Oddly, as it turns out, vulnerability served as my fuel, my source of motivation. The sense of never being good enough tapped into a bottomless well of motivation that drove me to pursue new experiences and conquer every challenge. Who would have thought...?
I get it now. My counsellor helped: I get it why my parents pushed me so hard. I'm actually drowning in gratitude because they, my family, friends and the world set such high expectations of me. Blame felt comfortable. Gratitude feels insightful, like age old wisdom and light.
I'll never be good enough. But that's ok. Because I'm finally starting to believe too.