Have you ever hidden from vulnerability behind a banana nut muffin? Researcher and social worker Brené Brown has. In her years of researching the unpredictable variable of vulnerability, she found it to be a vital tool in human connection. Human connection is not only the essence of social work but, Brown believes, it is the purpose of humankind in general.
Though vital, Brown found that vulnerability is easy to numb. We numb it because of fear, shame, grief, and disappointment. And this numbing of vulnerability is what stands in our way of connection. Brown explains in her TEDTalk, The Power of Vulnerability:
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. […] 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.
If you are an aspiring social worker, this TEDTalk is a must watch. See her full talk below: