BY: DANIEL WATERBORNE
Brene Brown is a researcher who has often found herself swimming for answers in the darkest waters of human experience. For ten years Brown conducted thousands of interviews to build a life preserver for times when the mental and emotional weight of living can leave our heads bobbing below the surface. Her interviews have spanned death, addiction, and Brown herself has struggled with a mental breakdown resulting in therapy. What she discovered was that citizens of Western societies often have the compulsion to numb feelings of discomfort. But whatever your vice, Brown reminds us “we cannot selectively numb.”
Her work has mainly dealt with the emotional blight of shame and the general distaste for vulnerability. But what she found is that those who are happiest embrace vulnerability and have a “willingness to lean into discomfort.” By embracing suffering not as a form of punishment but as a form of training, shame begins to evaporate through our pores. The most successful individuals invest in things to which there is no immediate outcome. And whether you measure success by love or respect or experience, there is a common thread—refusal to compromise your sense of worthiness. You were born imperfect. You will die imperfect. There is a hidden liberation in that obvious fact. Apply it.