waiting

By Amy Hackworth. Image by Justin Hackworth.

I’ve watched Dr. Brené Brown’s 2010 TEDx talk on the power of vulnerability more than once, and I imagine many of you have, too. With over 11 million views, I think it’s safe to say the issues she discusses have struck a chord that resonates with how we think about ourselves, our mistakes, and the need for authentic relationships.

I recently came across a series of clips from a piece she did with Oprah, and there are little bits of wisdom in each one. I’m especially interested in her ideas about how we perceive our “worthiness of love and belonging.” Do we believe we’re worthy of caring relationships? That we’re worthy to be loved, and to love ourselves?

Dr. Brown, here, asserts that we do deserve these things, not because of anything we’ve achieved or accomplished, but because we live and breathe. These are fundamental privileges that accompany living, not special favors we earn by being perfect or even by being great or good. “There are no pre-requisites for worthiness,” she says.

And yet. We often act as if there are. “Sure, I’m pretty worthy of love and belonging,” she suggests we might believe, “but I’d be super worthy if…” We can fill in our own blanks: “if I could lose that last five pounds”, “if I worked harder,” “if I managed work and family just right,” “if I didn’t waste so much time,” “if I could just meet this or that goal.” Often the x to which we assign our worthiness isn’t even an attainable or realistic standard, which ensures that a sense of being enough is continually at arm’s length.

But that’s a myth, friends. We don’t need to wait until things are perfect (because they never will be!) to feel that we are worthy of loving ourselves. We deserve that because we’re here. Now let’s enjoy it.

How do you nurture a sense that you’re enough?  How can we help each other embrace life as it is instead of an unrealistic perfection that isn’t?

P.S. Brené Brown’s 2012 follow-up TED talk is here. And we talked about her ideas of vulnerability and courage several months ago here.