Candid talk by Brene Brown, who researched this topic and the connection between perfection and vulnerability.

We all have this deep desire to connect and belong with others but for some it is not easy to translate that desire into results. Based on her research, these are the barriers that prevent us from achieving fulfillment:

  • Shame and Fear – we fear rejection for being imperfect and so we try to hide our perceived imperfects and feel ashamed of it (I’m not Good Enough)
  • Worthiness – those with a strong sense of love and belonging where those who believed themselves worthy of love.  They Believe they are worthy of love and belonging.  While those who struggle with love and belonging, do so because they feel unworthy
  • Self-doubt – when we believe we’re not good enough, we start to doubt ourselves or worst, become self-critical.

Those with strong sense of love and belonging have the following qualities:

  • Courage, Compassion and Authenticity – Having the courage to accept imperfections, compassion to ourself first as we are unable to show compassion for others if we dont feel it and Authenticity is being able to be who we are instead of who we are expected to be.
  • Vulnerability – Embracing vulnerability as as-if it were natural.  Vulnerability is willingness to commit without an expectation of a return, taking a risk with emotions, being totally carefree.  It is with vulnerability that genuine joy, creativity and contentment can strive.
  • Allow others to see the true person we are
  • Love whole-heartedly, without fear of rejection, without guarantees
  • Practise gratitude and Joy – instead of thinking of the what-if, focus on what we have at the moment and how wonderful it is

Those who struggle with love and belonging usually also have an love-hate relationship with Vulnerability.  Preferring to be in-control, i.e. not be vulnerable. This is how they deal with vulnerability:

  • Through shame of the things that make them vulnerable and fear of rejection, they attempt to numb the emotions associated with vulnerability. Without being able to selectively numb only those events / pressure points that make them ashamed, they end up numbing all emotions.  Taking comfort in addictive substance such as drugs, alcohol, bingeing on food, just some of the ways in which to numb / ignore the emotional effect from shame and fear.
  • Making all uncertainty, certain.
  • Pretend that what they do, does not affect others.  They blame others, blame is defined as a way to discharge pain and discomfort.

She ends with this really powerful phrase – tell myself that “I AM ENOUGH”.  It is when we believe this that we become self-assured and with it, grateful for all that we are and have experienced, we stop being self-critical or critical of others, we stop trying to fix imperfections.  We open ourselves to accepting love and joy in whatever form and shape it comes and whenever it comes. 


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