Friday, May 30, 2014

Human Connection

I was recently introduced to Dr. Brenè Brown's TED Talks by a dear friend and mentor.  Dr. Brown received her Ph.D. in social work, is a professor at the University of Huston and focuses her research on the human connection, specifically vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. {Check out her work and be inspired by her thoughts here} In this talk, I was overwhelmed as I considered the difference one person can make, especially in the life of a child.

In her work, Dr. Brown found "people who experience a strong sense of love and belonging {human connection}, believe they are worthy of love and belonging".  These people had four things in common:

1. Courage

2. Compassion

3. Connection

4. Vulnerability

Now why is that so important?  Theses things are often cultivated early in childhood by an influential adult.  Dr. Brown speaks specifically to parenting, but I don't think it needs to only come from a parent.  Instead, any consistent, trustworthy adult can change the life of a child by saying, 'I know you are not perfect and I do not expect you to be.  You are going to face struggles and you will not always succeed, but I love you and I believe you are worthy of love and belonging!'

Understand worthiness and entitlement are two very different things.  Children in the U.S. do not struggle with a sense if entitlement, but that is not fostered in love and does not bring a strong human connection which so many people are lacking today.  Saying to a child, spouse, sibling, or friend, 'I believe you are worthy of love and belonging' has the power to change a life and build confidence where there used to be only shame and doubt.

Be that person in the life of another, even if it is only a short period of time.  It would be amazing to see how different the world would be if a generation of children believed they were worthy of love and belonging.

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