A drop in the ocean of vulnerability
By Monica Lewinsky
I was sobbing.
Ugly sobbing. Uncontrollable sobbing. Cathartic sobbing.
The dam broke the minute the words registered and took hold in my head, heart and soul: shame is really easily understood as the fear of disconnection. These words were generously shared by Brené Brown in her TED Talk, "Listening to shame."
Watching this talk in 2012 coincided with other shifting perspectives about myself and my experiences in the late 1990s. Then there was the culture shift -- which, thanks to the advent of social media and technology, seemed to be moving towards fostering an atmosphere of humiliation and bullying. Brené's thinking in this area helped me understand that if a power dynamic for a bully was activated by igniting underpinnings of shame and humiliation in the target, then an antidote was needed. Her prescription: empathy -- and its cousin, compassion.
With her research and talk, she single-handedly cracked open a new world where people are more willing to dip their toes in the ocean of vulnerability. And we are a richer, more connected and more authentic world for it. (And now we also have the phrase "vulnerability hangover" in the repertoire, to boot!)
Thank you, Brené.