Lifestyle · Reviews

Notes from The Power of Vulnerability

I love my Audible subscription, it allows me to easily listen to a variety of great books. Some of my favorite books, that have also changed my thinking and changed my life this past year. “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of those life-changers, although this was actually a series of lectures rather than a book.

Brene Brown is an awesome speaker though, perfectly weaving serious psychology and humorous life experiences in a way that made everything sensible and memorable.

I remember within the first 5-minutes of listening I was laughing aloud because her opening story was so funny and easy-to-relate-to and candid. I found myself laughing a lot throughout the listen due to the same down-to-Earth and we’re-all-human attitude that all of her stories and confessions themed.

She offered a LOT of information, and I know I will have to relisten to this again in the future so I can continue applying her research to my life and relationships. In this post, I will highlight the main points that really struck me and that the tips that I started practicing immediately.

Joy is foreboding. You know when things are going great, and you realize it’s too good to be true? So in a way you become anxious about what unknown but bad thing about to happen, and start thinking of the worst-case scenario as a way to “prepare yourself” for when things inevitably go wrong? Well, that’s useless. Yes awful things will happen, but you will in no way prepare yourself for tragedy by anticipating it. Especially during moments of happiness and joy. During hard times, the real comfort is in knowing you enjoyed those happy moments and savored those to their fullest. Do this by actively practicing gratitude. When I’m having a happy time, and I get the “what if when bad happens” thoughts I immediately counter it by realizing how thankful I am for this moment. And savor it. And know that this is the moment for happiness, not anxiety.

“Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Show up, and let yourself be seen.”

Always be yourself. Yes! This point excited me a lot, because this is a recurring theme in my life. I was ready for some factual backing for this cliche piece of advice and I try to practice dutifully. She just gave a great example, and I ran with it. We want to fit in most of the time, even if the group of people is quite unlike us. Even if we don’t actually fit in, in a way we want to at least be part of the group, its safe. But the risk of rejection is always there! So if we “change who we are” in an attempt to fit in, and are still rejected…there is an incredible shame about it. Because we literally put our very self on the line. But if we are “being ourselves” and are rejected, it’s okay we didn’t actually risk our dignity. (So be yourself, dammit.)

Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield. It takes a vast amount of effort to carry it around, but it prevents us from actually opening up and interacting with people. So we’re never ourself. We’re never honest. We’ll never be able to connect meaningfully and there goes one of the things that makes life worth living. Do not even try to be perfect.

Whole-hearted. Gratitude. Play. Rest. 

I didn’t take notes as I listened along (I was also driving anyway), rather I just jotted these down when I finished listening. So I know these are the points that really stuck out because they stayed with me. Like I said, I think there will be so much more after I listen to the lectures again. Maybe a year from now, who knows.

I’ve really enjoyed this listen, and I was happy to be able to talk to different people in my life about what it taught me. I’ve definitely appreciated the extra gratitude and awareness and freedom I’m having after getting through these lectures. I hope it will continue to affect me positively, and that more people will give this their time!





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