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Vulnerability, Whole-Heartedness, and Sense of Worthiness

By Daniella Rueda, CEI Intern

Although often perceived in a negative light, vulnerability (emotional vulnerability, that is) is actually a necessary and important state of being for achieving human connection. Brené Brown, a qualitative researcher and self-proclaimed storyteller, has spent the last twenty years of her life studying topics such as shame, empathy, and vulnerability, in an attempt to learn about the “anatomy of connection.” In her renowned Ted Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” Brown shares a deep insight on research that has led her to believe that vulnerability is the key to the sole meaning and purpose in our lives: human connection.

Whole-Heartedness...Excrutiating Vulnerability?

In an attempt to understand human connection, Brown conducted various years of research and patient interviews.

Numbing Vulnerability

After thorough research of the whole-hearted, Brown went back and explored the “shameful”— those who struggled

Through her research, Brené Brown aims to replace negative connotations that that the term “vulnerable” carries such as weakness, fear, or helplessness, with the idea that being vulnerable leads to closeness and intimacy in relationships. In this way, she urges people to work towards living like the whole-hearted by allowing themselves to show their true selves as a way of connecting with everyone around them.


Brown, Brené (2019). Research. Brené Brown website.

TED. (January 2011). Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability. Houston: YouTube video of Ted Talk.


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