Wow, last week’s story about Alice Sommers Herz was a huge hit. In fact, reader Julie wrote: “I forwarded the link to the video on Alice to a dear friend of mine, who is engaged to an Israeli artist, and whose daughter is a wonderful pianist. Lo and behold a good friend of her stepfather knows Alice and her son Raffi! Small world!” Julie went on to forward me a note she’d received from Jerusalem from people who had attended Alice’s 100th birthday, and were thrilled to see the video of her.
My heart is happy. This makes me feel connected to people all around the world. Did I tell you? I found Alice’s story via Facebook.
I happen to love Facebook for the connection it gives me to old friends, new friends, soon-to-be friends and all of the things they’re reading, writing and watching.
Like Alice’s story.
And like this amazing presentation on overcoming shame from Dr. Brene Brown. I saw this short film earlier this week and had to watch it again and again. And send it to clients. And to my children. If I could have put it on a t-shirt and worn it around the block, I would have.
It’s that important. Want to watch it now?
Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, has made her life’s work the study of shame and the impact of not feeling “good enough.”
Isn’t that something so many of us struggle with? Feeling “good enough”? Being sorta control freak perfectionists?
The underlying thought is, “If I’m perfect enough, then I’ll be worthy of the love and affection of others.” Of course, the flip side is, “If people see how imperfect I really am, they’ll know I’m not worthy of love and I’ll end up alone, an outcast living in a dilapidated shack in the woods hoarding tin cans, jelly jars and old newspapers, surrounded by 87 cats.” Hey, I know your nightmare.
So, to ward off the nightmare, all of life becomes this game of hide and seek – and what we’re hiding is our true selves.
But what Brown’s research shows is hopeful. There are people who live lives full of love and belonging. We all know them – they’re fun to be around. A breath of fresh air. Kind. And being this way comes down to whether or not you have the belief that you are worthy of love and belonging. Just a belief. It’s that simple.
How do you get that belief going in your own control freaky, perfection-seeking life?
Brown calls worthy-feeling, connected, loved and loving souls The Wholehearted. Her research shows that what The Wholehearted have in spades is courage – the courage to tell the story of who they are with their whole heart.
- they have the grace to be imperfect
- they are kind to themselves, even when imperfect
- they are comfortable enough with themselves to be authentic, and forge relationships based on who they are – not who they “should” be
And they fully embrace their vulnerability. The Wholehearted don’t for a minute think vulnerability is easy, but they believe that it’s totally necessary to be fully themselves. And to be beautiful.
Brown’s talk is so powerful. So many of us attempt to show an invulnerable, perfect, cool, jaded, hip-thing-du-jour kind of facade because we think that’s what people want to see. And, simultaneously, we desperately want people to like us.
But what the research shows – it’s pretty clear – is The Wholehearted are happy to be seen for who they really are. They know that the way to get the deep connection so many of us seek is to stop pretending to be something we’re not.
Be yourself, Dr. Brown says, imperfections and all, and you’ll have everything you want. You’ll be Wholehearted.