New Year’s Resolution: Tolerate Vulnerability


That’s a strange New Year’s resolution, I know, but a couple months ago I saw a TEDxKC Talk that got under my skin and has been rattling around my brain ever since. It’s a talk called “The Price of Invulnerability” given by Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

Last month, I traveled to Hawaii with my family for my brother’s wedding. We had been looking forward to the trip for six months, knowing it would not only be a dream vacation, but a blissful celebration. The evening before our flight, I was going to pick up my son from daycare. It had just started getting dark early, and even though it’s a walk that I’ve done every weekday for years without incident, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was going to be mugged. I’d lose my phone and my wallet and we wouldn’t be able to take the trip. It wasn’t the first or last time I had an ominous feeling like that. Dr. Brown says that this feeling of foreboding in the face of joy is symptomatic of our cultural intolerance for vulnerability. If you ever have feelings like this, I highly recommend this TEDxKC Talk:

Dr. Brown closes with a prescription for what will be my mantra in the year to come: practice gratitude, and honor what’s ordinary about our lives. As we allow ourselves to feel vulnerable, we may more completely know joy.

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