Brene Brown is all the rage. If you haven’t seen her Houston TED talk on Youtube, where the heck have you been?
The video is 20 minutes long but well worth your time. I’ve watched it several dozen times, and I glean something new each time:
Brown has written several books but her most popular book is Daring Greatly.
As one Amazon reader said, Brown is a vulnerability researcher. She sees vulnerability as the prerequisite to living what she calls the wholehearted life. The wholehearted life is one of deep attachment to others, our environment, and our work. It’s a life of being “really there,” of being willing to fail. No one can avoid being actually vulnerable. We all are vulnerable every moment of our lives — though some times more than others. But if we run from it, we lose.
However, there is a big difference between vulnerability and oversharing. As a counselor whose seeks the best interest of others, I cringe when I see so many bloggers who overshare.
Here’s how Brown differentiates vulnerability and oversharing:
Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It’s not oversharing, it’s not purging, it’s not indiscriminate disclosure, and it’s not celebrity-style social media information dumps.
Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process.
Did you catch that?
Vulnerability is NOT oversharing.
Vulnerability is MUTUAL. That means the person with which you are sharing is also bearing her soul (maybe not in that exact moment, but sometime in the friendship).
Vulnerability is about sharing feelings and experiences with people who have EARNED the right to hear them. People who try to shame you, laud over you, tell you what to do, or fail to self-disclose, have not earned the right to hear your story.
You may meet someone who says, “Hi I’m Jill and here is my darkest struggle.” That’s desperation. It’s attention seeking. It is not vulnerability.
In my own recently published book, I explain that people who have suffered trauma tend to undershare or overshare. Often it’s because they’ve been raised in environments with little or no boundaries.
Brown says sharing appropriately, with boundaries, means sharing with people with whom we’ve developed relationships that can bear the weight of our story.
What do you think it means to share your story with people who can bear the weight?
Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty teacher at Colorado Christian University.
She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."