In searching for information about Connection a year or two ago, I was happily introduced to the work of Dr. Brené Brown, who calls herself a vulnerability researcher or a shame researcher. At first I thought it was an odd topic, but as I listened to her TED talks (2010 talk on vulnerability and 2012 talk on shame), I realized I had stumbled upon a treasure trove of research that supports my message that Connection is critical to our happiness and sense of well-being. In her first TED talk, she cites the research of Daniel Goleman who asserts that “We are hard-wired for connection.”

Since then, I’ve read everything she has written, and her work has provided me with a remarkable depth of insight into myself as well as effective ways to connect with others that are more empowering and less patronizing. Brené and Oprah recently teamed up to offer a class that explores the principles in her book The Gifts of Imperfection. I joined with my sister and a few friends to go through it together so we could share thoughts, frustrations, and “AHAs,” and that in itself was a wonderful experience. We were all so busy when we took the class late last fall that we’re going through it again now to pick up what we missed the first time.

The mantra of the class—and this is what I want to commend to you today— is:

“I’m imperfect and I’m enough!”

I have rarely suffered from a lack of self esteem. Yet as I read the book and did the lessons in the class, I became keenly aware of many ways and times over the course of my life that I had, indeed, acted — or failed to act — based on what I wanted others to think of me rather than what I really felt or wanted. Our culture is a landmine of times when we compare ourselves unfavorably to others, we make ourselves miserable to please others, and we fail to live an authentic wholehearted life.

In the picture above, I’ve written the mantra on my hand:

“I’m imperfect but I’m enough!”

Now I’m writing it on my heart, and it changes everything about my ability to show compassion to myself and others.

Explore Brené Brown’s books on Amazon below. You’ll discover the good side of being vulnerable and learn to embrace your own definition of wholehearted living with confidence and courage.

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