If you haven’t seen or heard Brene Brown yet, don’t even finish this post: check out her TED talks on Vulnerability and Shame here and here. Like Dr. Who calling out The Silence, she names one of the great inner demons that hampers and hinders us, and manages to stay largely invisible throughout its life-stealing games: Shame.
Her work fundamentally changed my life, and the lives of countless, countless others, and I honor her.
I read today, on her site, that Cadillac recently, consciously, co-opted her work, Daring Greatly, in their new advertising campaign. And I got mad. I wrote the following in her comments, and because this topic has far-reaching implications for all of us, throughout our lives, I’m saying it here, too:
Wow. My first reaction is fury. Glancing through the other comments, I hear my anger echoed and I feel this is one of the Most Important responses we can notice in ourselves: Boundary Violation Alarms are blaring and Kari nails the kernel of it right here:
“This is a corporation, and it IS easy for me to feel there is a “danger” that Brene’s social/academic movement is being co-opted for marketing purposes.”
I’m not suggesting we blame or fear, nor do I want to minimize the wisdom Brene and others have offered so beautifully: I’m suggesting we Pay Very Close Attention to our emotional response because it’s telling US something incredibly, even vitally important: We have the Right and the Responsibility to Protect and Hold Sacred That Which is Valuable to US. We are awakening to the awareness that there is a long and dreadful human history of converting precious, living resources, like Brene’s work, like the work all of us have done within ourselves thanks to Brene’s work, like rain forests and coral reefs and children’s imaginations into abstract numbers in someone’s checking account and we’re saying “ENOUGH ALREADY!”
Being vulnerable requires us to have strong boundaries against ANYTHING that threatens our hearts, our lives, our children, our connections, our world. This is true whether the threat arises from a corporation co-opting heartful brilliance to enhance their bottom line, or from internalized voices of shame that insist we are less than we are.
We are gaining strength, within ourselves and within our connections to each other, to other living hearts: strength to stand against any and all who would insist on co-opting or denying us our birthrights of joyous wholehearted BEING human, of discovery and exploration of this miraculous world with and for each other, in celebration of Life and All Living Things.
I haven’t read Cadillac’s statement, but we all know there is nothing daring in buying a luxury car, nothing daring in continuing to build luxury cars in a world choking in them. To consciously use Brene’s work to imply otherwise, is a LIE. And we can call it that. We NEED to call it that. We NEED to speak Our Truth. Not fearful, not blaming, simply: That is a Lie; and because it seeks to diminish something of incalculable worth, we will not stand for it.
The more we speak these simple truths within ourselves, between ourselves, the stronger we grow. As long we keep this up, then one day, perhaps sooner than we’ve dared to dream, there will be no stopping the Vulnerable.
Brene, thank you, as ever, for all you give.
And, of course, at this very moment jbuss & Elizabeth are heralding our need for self-protection. Beautiful.