Day by day the world is becoming a tough place to live in. People are tightening their grip on the prejudiced beliefs and thoughts. Bias and intolerance are gradually strengthening their roots inside people’s heads. Wars and tumults are stirring their head up and the hope of a peaceful world seems like a distant dream now.
However, there must be a possible way to reunite and find a common ground.
After all, we are sentient human beings. We haven’t yet lost our consciousness entirely and we are intelligent enough to avoid deliberate self-harm.
How do you think we can find a common ground to tolerate each other?
The answer is connection.
The author of “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”, Brené Brown, who is also a scientist is researching on the theory of vulnerability for years now. Her study centers around how vulnerability is related to ignominy, empathy, and connection in our world. Her views are overwhelming and relevant to this hateful world.
Her journey towards unearthing the quality of vulnerability initiated with an analysis of connection.
“So where I started was with connection. Because, by the time you’re a social worker for 10 years, what you realize is that connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter whether you talk to people who work in social justice, mental health and abuse and neglect, what we know is that connection, the ability to feel connected, is –neurobiologically that’s how we’re wired — it’s why we’re here.”
However, vulnerability is the major factor that makes us available to connections and even if things go out of control, even if the last person on earth abandons humanity, reconnection is still possible.
Here is the thing that she elucidates on vulnerability:
“We numb vulnerability — when we’re waiting for the call… This is the world we live in. We live in a vulnerable world. And one of the ways we deal with it is we numb vulnerability. And I think there’s evidence — and it’s not the only reason this evidence exists, but I think it’s a huge cause — We are the most in-debt … obese … addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history. The problem is — and I learned this from the research — that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t say, here’s the bad stuff. Here’s vulnerability, here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment. I don’t want to feel these. I’m going to have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin.”
She also says
“You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then, we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle. One of the things that I think we need to think about is why and how we numb. And it doesn’t just have to be addiction. The other thing we do is we make everything that’s uncertain certain. Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty.
“I’m right, you’re wrong. Shut up.” That’s it. Just certain.The more afraid we are, the more vulnerable we are, the more afraid we are. This is what politics looks like today. There’s no discourse anymore. There’s no conversation. There’s just blame. You know how blame is described in the research? A way to discharge pain and discomfort. We perfect. If there’s anyone who wants their life to look like this, it would be me, but it doesn’t work. Because what we do is we take fat from our butts and put it in our cheeks.”
Her conclusion focuses on the value of vulnerability and the ability to look at life through hopeful eyes even in the worst condition.
“This is what I have found: To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.” And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough” … then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
The high time to talk about shame, vulnerability and connection has arrived. What is your view about it? What do you think is making it challenging for people to overcome their personal pain and grudge against each other. Share with us in the comments section below.