Friday, December 31, 2010

Everything You Thought About Success? You Thought Wrong.

I am loving Brene Brown (social worker, researcher, writer) and her TEDxHouston talk on vulnerability as being the key to leading a truly successful life.

Brown discusses what courage really means (whole-heartedness), and how people who are genuinely good at connecting with others (that's what life is all about, after all) are the ones who consciously choose to make themselves vulnerable and open. 

I urge everyone to watch this 20-minute talk. It's sweet; it's funny; it could change your life.

As I watched this, I thought how everything I tend NOT to like about myself has just been my unwillingness NOT to be other than I am. I let myself be vulnerable; I always have. I do this in part by sharing stories. Also, I speak the truth of the world because I must...even though I know (better than most) that it can make me vulnerable.

I was stunned the other day to find one of my kids saying, in jest, "I will sue you until you're dead and I will laugh! Mwahahaha!"

That's exactly what someone said to me this past March. 

First, I considered the need for family therapy as a result of the abuse I suffered (and thought I had kept from my kids); I already know I'm going to need it for myself for possibly decades.

Then I remembered that all I can do is remind my kids, "People should never say things like that to each other. Never."

I teach compassion to my children; I always have. Compassion starts at home. Compassion starts with each of us, in our hearts. We share compassion by listening to each other's stories and really hearing them. It is not compassionate to demand that someone be fired (and hope they die) because they do not agree with your politics.

Anyway--namaste. Be well. Happy 2011. Be more vulnerable this year and see what it brings you. I hope it only brings you good things and love.


  1. Elizabeth,

    You are right about compassion beginning at home. Without compassion (what does this really mean? Together, loving or something like that) we have nothing and our lives are meaningless. You met some people who think they are Catholic but are actually very bad and lost. Sooner or later they will have to look around and wonder why no one likes them. How can we like those who say they will feel glee when we're hurt? Who says that? It's positively crazy. It's savage. I am sure you agree.

    I wish you a wonderul New Year, all the best.

    Your friend,


  2. I do agree, JC. I honestly try not to think about what happened to me too much because it is SO upsetting and bad for my heart. I actually keep trying to look for the bright side, although there probably isn't one, and to find the lesson for humanity here. That's what I am most interested in examining.

    Interestingly enough, I met a woman the other day who was spreading the word about stories similar to mine, and she cited one name that was actually the parent of a student in a Catholic school (in another state far, far away, and quite a while ago). What was intriguing here was that the *mother* was banned from the campus for causing a ruckus, harassing admin and teacher, etc. (Apparently, the father was a piece of work, as well). The school was forced to fire one of its teachers b/c the bishop made them (the teacher used to be a PP volunteer, before she started working at the school) for the anti-abortion issue.

    These parents are staunch (some might say militant) anti-abortion activists and they threw an enormous fit when they realized that this teacher was on the other side of the PP protests. It got so bad the school filed restraining orders against the family (good idea).

    The nuns didn't want to fire the teacher, but somehow had to because of canonical law. But then--this is the interesting part--they soon expelled the student *because of her parents'* protracted fit being bad for the school.

    That was a fascinating story, if still sad all around. Those nuns stood up for the safety and peace of their community; I can respect that. People have to just say no to bullying, or else--like a little kid who throws a tantrum and finds out that it works, that people will do his/her bidding just to end the screaming--it will only continue and even get worse.

    Thanks for writing in.