By: Emily Franchi: Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 12:43 PM
The presence of a strong social support network has been proven to be vital to maintaining physical and mental health. Positive social support can help increase resiliency to stress and protect against trauma-related psychological difficulties. Research has shown that relationships can be strengthened and provide us with the greatest sense of fulfilment through the practice of vulnerability.
Dr. Brené Brown has spent much of her career studying the power of vulnerability and why many of us shy away from being vulnerable with our loved ones and close friends. She highlights shame and the fear of being perceived by others as weak or as a burden as key forces driving our avoidance of vulnerability. In a sense, we block vulnerability in an effort to protect ourselves from disappointment and grief. However, Dr. Brown’s research has found that asking our loved ones for help and support during times of need actually fosters love, trust, and connectedness in relationships.
Through her interviews with hundreds of individuals, she has found that allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and open in our relationships, cultivates joy, belongingness, and an ability to live more authentically. Dr. Brown uses the word, “wholehearted,” to describe people living in a place of vulnerability. Wholeheartedness, she claims, is gained through a practice of gratitude, empathy, and a willingness to seek help and communicate openly in our most important relationships. Please watch the videos below to learn more about Dr. Brown’s research on vulnerability.