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Taking the Risk of Being Authentic

I just watched a two-part interview by Oprah of Brene Brown, a university professor and researcher at the University of Houston who studied vulnerability and is the author of three best-selling books.

Her 2010 TED talk, “The Power Of Vulnerability,” changed her life. The topic resonated, and today her talk has nearly 10 million views.  She states that it is important to be vulnerable,  in work and in life, because it gives you courage and demands that other people be authentic, too. If we continue to just show our masks, showing the side of us that will be accepted by others and society, we miss the opportunity of real connection with others, rich, deep friendship and a relationship that includes intimacy also on an emotional level. We let ourselves be ‘seen’, be authentic, not having to pretend to be a super-man or woman. Just a human being with faults, with fears, with emotions. We are accepting that others may not want to see the vulnerable, emotional side, and that we might be hurt. The more we allow ourselves to take the risk of being our authentic selves, the more powerful we feel, the more alive – and as we show up as ourselves we gain strength, courage and we demonstrate self-love.

Brene herself was harshly criticized for her talk, her appearance, the content and message she gave. She said, that after watching 8 hours of ‘Downtown Abbey’ as therapeutic tuning out, she remembered  a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that helped helped her overcome the  criticism:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Inspiring, isn’t it?