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"Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart."
November 7, 2010 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Social work researcher Brené Brown gives an inspiring TEDxHouston talk on vulnerability, courage, and love. (SLYT)
posted by liketitanic (21 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw this the other day, and it put me into an interesting headspace. I've had a small smile on my face all weekend as a result.
posted by In The Annex at 7:21 PM on November 7, 2010


Worth watching.
posted by ColdChef at 7:36 PM on November 7, 2010


If you can't measure it, it doesn't exist!
posted by delmoi at 7:53 PM on November 7, 2010


Interesting.
Courage vs. Numbness. Good food for thought.
posted by mannequito at 8:15 PM on November 7, 2010


Also, I enjoyed that enough to follow a few more TEDxHouston videos. This one, with Dan Phillips, an alternative home builder, might be one of the most enjoyable talks I've ever watched. He's got such a natural born storyteller charisma, not to mention the subject/photos are endlessly fascinating.
posted by mannequito at 9:24 PM on November 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm still wearing the smile she gave me. At the end of the TED talk, I suddenly starting singing Lauryn Hill: "Don't be a hard rock when you really are a gem."

I like when people can talk about wholeheartedness without reeking of patchouli.
posted by black rainbows at 11:02 PM on November 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't know about patchouli, but I was certainly getting strong wafts of psychobabble. This thing of using a word's etymology to validate a new definition for it ("courage" comes from the Latin word for "heart" etc) - that's just nonsense, isn't it?

The word "awful" originally meant something that fills you with awe and wonder. Can that tell us anything about awful experiences today, that they could somehow also be wondrous and awe-inspiring? Pfft.
posted by creeky at 2:23 AM on November 8, 2010


For one example, I had a bad LSD trip many years ago that was truly awful, wondrous, and awe-inspiring. Seriously.
posted by zoinks at 3:48 AM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can that tell us anything about awful experiences today, that they could somehow also be wondrous and awe-inspiring? Pfft.

Actually, you may be on to something there.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:30 AM on November 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


"We are the most indebted obese addicted medicated cohert in United States history."

O.K.
posted by bukvich at 6:38 AM on November 8, 2010


A bunch of Houston Mefites were there! It was a PERFECT way to start the day st TEDxHouston, and gave everyone a huge opening to talk to the other intriguing strangers who were at the event.

Brene Brown also has a new book, it's definitely well worth the read, and one of those books you want to give to lots of people in your life.
posted by pomegranate at 6:38 AM on November 8, 2010


Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The best TED talk I've seen, and the shortest 20 minutes.
posted by Twang at 10:32 AM on November 8, 2010


She pretty much sums up in 20 minutes what it took me five years in therapy to learn.
posted by crunchtopmuffin at 10:59 AM on November 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


On one hand, I am willing to give her the benefit of doubt because it must be hard to sum up 6 years of research in 20 minutes, especially to a non-technical audience. It is also made difficult because of the nature of the subject: criticizing her leaves you open to accusations of being out of touch with your own vulnerability.

On the other hand I'm having a hard time accepting that her approach to the subject of shame and vulnerability was done in a purely scientific way - iow, it felt like she might have had an agenda going in. Can you imagine her coming to the conclusion that we're all fucked and that life has no actual purpose?

I don't know about patchouli, but I was certainly getting strong wafts of psychobabble.

Most troubling for me is in this talk where she makes seemingly arbitrary distinction between "shame" (bad) and "guilt" (good). If I was in a therapy session and she tried this on me I would run far and fast.

That isn't to say she doesn't have valuable things to say, who can argue that a strong feeling of worthiness seems fundamental to successfully distracting yourself from your own miserable end. If that's the goal, she seems to have a decent tonic. Me, I get my dopamine rushes from pot, sex, The Macallan and nicotine.
posted by victors at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2010


Not sure what talk you mean, victors. You just linked the post.

Her professional site is here, with her CV and her pubs listed for those who are interested in the technical explanations of her work.
posted by liketitanic at 11:47 AM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


sry here's the unborked link

was there something else?
posted by victors at 11:58 AM on November 8, 2010



Most troubling for me is in this talk where she makes seemingly arbitrary distinction between "shame" (bad) and "guilt" (good). If I was in a therapy session and she tried this on me I would run far and fast.


I listened to the interview and I guess I just don't find the distinction arbitrary: she says, essentially, shame is generated by a fear of disconnection driven by a sense of or expectation of one's own inadequacy.

The play between shame and guilt is, I think, there historically.

Guilt is about culpability/responsibility. I looked all this up in the OED: "The fact of having committed, or of being guilty of, some specified or implied offence; guiltiness" and "The state (meriting condemnation and reproach of conscience) of having wilfully committed crime or heinous moral offence; criminality, great culpability." That's pretty clearly about actions and choices based on ethical and/or legal standards.

But shame, in the OED, is this: "The painful emotion arising from the consciousness of something dishonouring, ridiculous, or indecorous in one's own conduct or circumstances (or in those of others whose honour or disgrace one regards as one's own), or of being in a situation which offends one's sense of modesty or decency."

"Decency," "dishonor," "ridiculousness" are all way, way less clear than the actions/moral standards "guilt" seems to be about. And Brown says in this 2005 article that "The majority of shame researchers agree that the difference between shame and guilt is best understood as the differences between, “I am bad” and “I did something bad.” That play between the two seems to me to be present in the linguistic histories of the words. I don't know that she's making a false distinction at all, or that we don't confuse and misattribute guilt and shame in daily life.
posted by liketitanic at 12:35 PM on November 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


heh, I see what you did there - you took the irrelevant definition of "guilt" - the one having to do with culpability as in law - and ignored the one about emotion, typically described as "remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense" as in Jewish mother.

Relax. Own the vulnerability of posting a link to a message that moved you.
posted by victors at 1:54 PM on November 8, 2010


Why on earth should we quibble over whether or not her talk is "scientific"? She's not running an experiment; she's sharing her discoveries on some of the common attitudes of people who feel loved, happy and connected. That's all. From beginning to end, it is pretty much a chronicle of her struggle as a researcher to accept conclusions which explicitly did not accord with a scientific approach to discovery.

The hell every time someone lives well and enjoys their life, someone else ought to show up in the name of science with a survey, statistics, and a degree and say, "Ah, no. Sorry. Your life is not measurably different than the dreary average. You are deluded."

"But I feel happy."

"Haha. Psychobabble."
posted by millions at 2:01 PM on November 8, 2010 [6 favorites]



heh, I see what you did there - you took the irrelevant definition of "guilt" - the one having to do with culpability as in law - and ignored the one about emotion, typically described as "remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense" as in Jewish mother.

Relax. Own the vulnerability of posting a link to a message that moved you.


I care a lot less about this than you think I do.
posted by liketitanic at 2:44 PM on November 8, 2010


Fair enough. ftr I never denied her her happiness. Good on her. And if her findings are just anecdotal then that's all they are, feelgood stories. Great. I loved ET.

But correct me if I'm wrong: shes written 4 books with the aim of disseminating advise for others to consume, no? Well, on cursory consumption her advise doesn't make a lot of sense to me in a way I find helpful.
posted by victors at 2:45 PM on November 8, 2010


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