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10/14/2013 11:04 am ET

Why Brené Brown Gives Herself Permission To Be Uncool (VIDEO)

Shame and vulnerability researcher Dr. Brené Brown isn't afraid to be uncool. In the above clip from "Oprah's Lifeclass," she discusses how our culture's preoccupation with criticism and acting "cool" has made us stop caring.

"It's almost like disengagement is cool now," she says. "You're not supposed to care."

"Oh, and the cynics," Oprah adds. "Cable television is filled day and night with it, it's just crazy."

What we're really doing, Brown says, is using coolness as a form of armor to protect us from vulnerability. To take down those shields, Brown says she gives herself permission to care.

"People ask me all the time, 'Why do you always wear jeans or a blue jean jacket?'" Brown says. "You know why? Pockets. I keep permission slips that say, 'You have permission to be excited when you meet Oprah. You have permission to be giddy. You have permission to laugh. You have permission to ask for a picture. You have permission to be completely uncool.'"

Brown says it would be easy to go through life as a cynic, but she recently made this pledge to herself. "At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of my life, I want to be able to say -- I'm probably going to cry," she says, choking up, "that I contributed more than I criticized."

Oprah is teaming up with Brown for a six-week ecourse, Oprah's Lifeclass Presents Brené Brown: The Gifts of Imperfection. Register now for a special offer.

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