Emotional vulnerability sucks, but it seems to be ground zero for personal greatness, or a great work of art...

Researcher Brene Brown's insight into vulnerability is as the French would say, jolie-laide or ugly beautiful. She argues something that I, and so, so, so many of us resist: living with vulnerability.

After years of delving into the issue, and a personal breakdown, Brown discovered that to allow yourself to be seen is ground zero for personal greatness and freedom. Live nakedly, she argues, and you get your life back.

The thought of living emotionally naked is horrifying and it is especially frightening to those who grew up struggling to feel safe. But during her six-year study the Texan researcher discovered that there are people, she calls them, the wholehearted, who live in vulnerability. And the payoff for those people, she claims, is that they live feeling connected, loved and being loved--a winning recipe for a good, happy life.

These folks live each day knowing that they are enough. They are the first to say I love you for example. They love deeply, unconditionally, knowing that there are no guarantees. They embrace their imperfection and know that they are worthy of love. These folks - the wholehearted - don't need the two car garage for the BMV and Lexus, the perfect life, perfect kids, husband, wife, or house, or perfect body and fabulous title or great new shoes. Nope, these folks know, at the core, that none of those externals makes them any more or less worthy of love and connection. That they are worthy... period. Check out her brilliant Ted.com, talk.

Why is it so hard to live with vulnerability? We fear being rejected, ostracized, not loved, and so on but remove fear, shame and being worthy off the table and live free because as most artists know, vulnerability is also the epicenter of joy, creativity, belonging and love.

So, let it all out, work on shame, if that is your issue. Live, each day showing the world your beautiful self. The ugly cry, contradictions, impatience, tenderness--the pure beauty that resides inside and that is wholly worthy of unconditional love.

Here are Brown's four ingredients for living vulnerably:
  • Let yourself be seen, deeply, nakedly seen.
  • Love with your whole heart, even when there are no guarantees.
  • Practice gratitude, especially in moments of terror, or fear (like when you are fired from your job and you've no idea how you will pay your bills, be grateful that it's happening for a reason. Try it, it tastes really bad, but so good when you go through the fire and survive.)
  • Believe that you are enough.
This of course is more easily said than done, I know. But, try it on. It's worth the risk.