The Authenticity Mantra is the Cure for a Vulnerability Hangover

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One of my newest heroines is Brené Brown. She is a social researcher, a story teller and listener, author, and a Texan. What she studies mostly is shame & vulnerability. Her excellent, exhaustive research has led her to conclude that our experience of shame, and our inability to talk about  shame is one of the main causes of most of the social problems we see in the US today: addiction, isolation, crime, suicide.

She also teaches authenticity, as an antidote to shame. This is her definition of authenticity:

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who think we’re supposed to be, and embracing who we actually are. Choosing authenticity means: 1) Cultivating the courage to be imperfect 2) to set boundaries and 3) to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Expressing compassion that comes from knowing that we’re all made of strength and struggle. Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving, even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it. Mindfully practicing authenticity during our soul searching struggles is how invite grace, joy and gratitude into our lives.”

I took the above quote from her 6 hour talk called The Power of Vulnerability. If you listen to it, it will change your life. In it, she also shares her authenticity mantra, which I use all the time, and tell to everyone who will listen.

"Don't shrink. Don't puff up. Just stay on your sacred ground."

I am sharing this because this blogging project is all about my new found commitment to authenticity. It's not an easy path I am now on, and I am suffering from what Brené Brown calls a vulnerability hangover. At times I feel a bit raw, and alone. But I also know that if I want to be a trailblazer, which I most definitely do, I am going to have to tolerate the discomfort of vulnerability. If I want to be a leader, I need to go first. This month of blogging is me going first. When I feel afraid to risk being myself, it always helps to have a hero in mind. Brené Brown is my hero of the day.


I made my dramatic statement about leaving Facebook on Facebook today. And now I feel like I left the party. But I also know that I can create my own party, on my own terms. This reminds me of one of my own mantras that I use when I feel a need for external validation, but then remember that self-validation is really what I am looking for.

"I'm where the party's at."