Like many others, Dr. Brené Brown says she was raised to believe that vulnerability was a weakness. But she learned that you can't have true courage unless you open yourself up to vulnerability.
Brown is an expert in shame and vulnerability and professor at University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work. In the above clip from "Super Soul Sunday" on OWN, Brown explains that the title of her book, Daring Greatly, "means the courage to be vulnerable. To show up and be seen. To ask for what you need, to talk about what you're feeling. To have the hard conversations."
Oprah tells Brown that reading her books made her realize how vulnerability has been key to her own success. "What I realized, first of all, is I live in the space of vulnerability and that is what has made me so successful -- my vulnerability with the audience," she says. Oprah adds that she believes vulnerability is "sort of the cornerstone of confidence" because taking risks and being open helps you recognize that you're "just like everybody else."
In her research, Brown has talked to many people about their most vulnerable moments. As examples, she cites: "The first date after my divorce. Trying to get pregnant after my third miscarriage. Sitting with my wife, who has stage 4 breast cancer, making plans for our children."
A moment of vulnerability that many people have shared, Brown says, is picking up the phone to call someone who has just experienced a great loss.
They'll think, "There's nothing I can say to make it better," she says, and make up excuses not to call.
"We've all done that," Oprah agrees.
Making the phone call just to say, "I can't fix this, but I'll walk through the pain with you," Brown says, is all it takes. She says the feeling you have after you actually make the call and hang up the phone is a powerful moment.
"To me, that feeling is when I'm aligned with my values –- and courage is my value," Brown says. "And you can't get to courage without walking through vulnerability, period."