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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vulnerability Is Not Weakness

by Aimee (bio)

Brené Brown continues to speak powerful words on shame, creativity, and vulnerability. If you missed her first TED Talk on vulnerability than I would suggest starting there before watching her newest edition, which I have embedded below.

I have all my clients watch  Brené's first TED Talk because her research into how the feeling of shame is a universal experience is significant. Shame is connected with depression, anxiety, and a whole bunch of other unhealthy consequences. I tease many of my Mormon clients that I need a separate chair to put Mormon shame in because it takes up a lot of space in the room. No, Mormons, unfortunately, are not exempt from shame, and we often have our own unique issues with the feeling. In fact, Mormon Matters has a fantastic podcast addressing this very issue.

In Dr. Brown's most recent TED talk, she discusses the issue of gender and vulnerability. She talks about how men have a much harder time sharing their vulnerability for fear of being perceived as weak. And that message doesn't come from just fathers and coaches in their lives, but also women who do not like to see men show vulnerability. I hope to see this gender dynamic change as our culture gets more emotionally mature and fosters more empathy, as Dr. Brown discusses.

What are your thoughts? Do we as a church community allow each other to be vulnerable and open? Are Mormon men allowed to show vulnerability? Or is there a pressure to have it all together and be in control?

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