An Open BookIn Daring Greatly, Brown explains the difference between vulnerability and oversharing.
Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It's not oversharing, it's not purging, it's not indiscriminate disclosure, and it's not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process.
We can't always have guarantees in place before we risk sharing; however, we don't bare our souls the first time we meet someone. We don't lead with "Hi, my name is Brené, and here's my darkest struggle." That's not vulnerability. That may be desperation or woundedness or even attention-seeking, but it's not vulnerability. Why? Because sharing appropriately, with boundaries, means sharing with people with whom we've developed relationships that can bear the weight of our story. The result of this mutually respectful vulnerability is increased connection, trust, and engagement.
Vulnerability without boundaries leads to disconnection, distrust, and disengagement. In fact...boundaryless disclosure is one way we protect ourselves from real vulnerability.
From Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (Gotham, September 2012).
Brené Brown's Best Advice
We Hear You!