In talk from June’s TED in Houston, sociology researcher and storyteller Brené Brown explains how she discovered that vulnerability is the key to feeling connection with other people, to having a sense of love and belonging.
There are lots of great ideas in her talk, and she tells the story so well that I won’t even try to summarize. Listen for yourself:
I have a few little quibbles, but they really are few and little.
Notice how she spent a year in therapy to come to terms with the idea of vulnerability in herself. A year. Around here, people with severe and complex mental illness might spend a year in therapy. What could she and her therapist possibly have been up to for all that time?
Also, this way of using psychotherapy is too close to cosmetic surgery for my liking. “Please, Mr Therapist, I want to have this kind of personality. Please, Mr Surgeon, I want to have this kind of body.” The idea of using psychotherapy to become authentic and vulnerable is very paradoxical.
I have no doubt about her abilities as a storyteller, and no doubt about the power of storytelling to put across the kind of ideas she wants to put across. But this is not what happens. A lot of her messages are meaningless, the verbal equivalent of the banana-nut muffins she refers to in her talk, making me think she has lost her way a little.
Where, for example, is the story in this? Nowhere. It’s just Sunday School. The world is so full of this kind of fluffy trash. Oh, this is different because she really, really means it? Don’t they all?
Quibbles aside, I do think she is on to some important ideas, though.