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The Nonduality Highlights - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - Edited by Jerry Katz

The material for today's issue was provided by long time reader Valerie Cooper. 



Brené Brown on Vulnerability, Human Connection, and the Difference Between 
Empathy and Sympathy, Animated 

by Maria Popova 

In 2010, shame and empathy researcher Dr. Brené Brown gave us the wonderful and 
culturally necessary The Gifts of Imperfection, exploring the uncomfortable 
vulnerability and self-acceptance required in order to truly connect with 
others. In this charming short film, the folks of the Royal Society for the 
encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, better-known as the RSA, put a 
twist on their usual live-illustrated gems and take a page out of the TED-Ed 
book, teaming up with animator Katy Davis to bring to life an excerpt from 
Brown’s longer talk on the power of vulnerability and the difference between 
empathy and sympathy, based on her most recent self-helpy-sounding but 
enormously insightful and rigorously researched book, Daring Greatly: How the 
Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead 
(public library). 

"The truth is, rarely can a response make something better — what makes something 
better is connection." 

And that connection often requires mutual vulnerability. Brown writes in Daring 

Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it 
always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions 
and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness 
is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out 
of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing 
that gives purpose and meaning to living. 


Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, 
accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or 
deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path. 

Watch Brown’s full RSA talk below:

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