1. Be Comfortable With Uncertainty
  2. “I Am Enough”
  3. Connect With Others

The Introduction suggests that the following are important to vulnerability:

  • embracing uncertainty
  • being comfortable with not knowing
  • opening yourself up to getting hurt or being disappointed

Be Comfortable With Uncertainty

I’m reminded of Pema Chödrön’s teachings about not reaching for stable ground when the rug is pulled from under your feet, and moving toward the places that scare you.

Brown realization about social work echo Chödrön’s teachings about life:

I had realized that social work wasn’t about fixing. It was and is all about contextualizing and “leaning in.” Social work is all about leaning into the discomfort of ambiguity and uncertainty, and holding open an empathic space so people can find their own way. In a word—messy.

“I Am Enough”

John Powel’s book, Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, teaches about the masks we wear to avoid deep communication and connection with others. He answers the question in the title with this: I’m afraid to tell you who I am because that’s all I’ve got. So the fear is one of being found not enough.

Brown writes:

If you roughly divide the men and women I’ve interviewed into two groups—those who feel a deep sense of love and belonging, and those who struggle for it—there’s only one variable that separates the groups: Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. They don’t have better or easier lives, they don’t have fewer struggles with addiction or depression, and they haven’t survived fewer traumas or bankruptcies or divorces, but in the midst of all of these struggles, they have developed practices that enable them to hold on to the belief that they are worthy of love, belonging, and even joy.

Connect With Others

Brown writes (p.8):

The surest thing I took away from my BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. in social work is this: Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering. I wanted to develop research that explained the anatomy of connection.

Socrates put it this way: “Man is social by nature.”