One part of it that struck true was when she brought up numbing. You can’t selectively numb. When you numb yourself from one emotion, you numb yourself from all of them (including love and joy). You might even avoid love; because once you feel it, all of those other emotions rise to the surface along with it. And if you are not prepared, it could quite possibly break you. But would that be such a “bad thing”?
It might feel like it in the moment, like your life is spinning into a gaping dark vortex, eventually to be spit out into a lonely void.
But what else would you expect when you have been numbing out for so long?
The key is vulnerability – to consider facing emotional dragons as a necessity.
You could be forced to face those undesirable sentiments, because of your direct relation to the choices of another or because you made a decision to actively engage in a rumble with them yourself. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The point is to face the gamut of emotions with courage.
Through her research, Brené discovered three common qualities of the whole-hearted, people living from a deep sense of worthiness:
1. Courage. They had the courage to be imperfect and tell their stories from the heart.
2. Compassion. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first (“We can’t practice compassion with other people, if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.”-Brené Brown)
3. Authentic Connection. They were willing to let go of what they thought they should be, in order to be who they actually were.
4. Vulnerability. They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable, made them beautiful. They neither thought of it as uncomfortable or excruciating, only necessary.
It is not that you “should” or “shouldn’t” live as the whole-hearted. It is simply a matter of deciding the depth or quality of the life you want to live, of living remarkably. And those four things (above) are the price of being whole-hearted, of being an extraordinary human being.
The most difficult thing for me as I watched her talk was the fact that living as the whole-hearted will not guarantee those I love will stick with me and not leave. It only promises me a whole heart and courage, compassion, authentic connection, and vulnerability.