Go on then, be perfect…! Try!
We will indeed be perfect one day: the day we die. Incapable of doing anything to continue our life’s work, there will therefore be no more need to make up for the “too much and not enough” that has made us chase after things ever since we can remember: not good enough, not enough money, not enough knowledge, not beautiful enough, not established enough, not quick enough… All of these challenges will be behind us and, in the face of death, there will be nothing in front of us that we can change by our actions. Phew, time to relax!
A narcissistic sociocultural environment, intensified by the importance of appearances, social media and media voyeurism, leads us to conceal or, worse still, nourish the shame of “imperfection”. Shame: the concealed fear of letting other people down or even scaring them away should they find out who we truly are. Impossible…
In her video, The Power of Vulnerability, Brené Brown has deliberately chosen a paradoxical perspective as she dares to face precisely what we rush to conceal in the first place: our vulnerability. For instance, the meaning given to this word is: “who can be hurt” (Pomey) or “who can easily be morally harmed” (Destutt de Tr.).
Yet there is a nuance between fragility (Latin fragilis: brittle, the opposite of strong, resistant) and vulnerability (vulnus: wound). Although it is impossible to be both Strong and Weak, it is conceivable that Strong and Vulnerable may coexist.
This society would have us numb our fear of vulnerability, conceal and even despise it, because it is unacceptable if we are to succeed in life. “Be strong”, “be perfect”, “make an effort”, “hurry up”, “it would make me so happy if you…”: so many demands that, like mental tattoos, just make us more indebted to others in how they perceive us. Brené Brown invites us to embrace authenticity: the courage to stop feeling indebted and confront this fear, this illusion our mind has created. She invites us to take on the pain and this reality with humbleness… to be both strong and vulnerable at the same time.
Accepting vulnerability means, therefore, accepting to lose control over “the rest and all the others”, being brave enough to be flawed. However, in one of life’s paradoxes, our need of recognition is activated as soon as the “other” is there, in front of us. Their eye amplifies our feelings of self-esteem or self-loathing (F.Deloche), reactivating the debt at each encounter, to exist and to be loved.
By numbing the Fear of our own vulnerability in favour of being likeable, we are numbing Joy by cutting ourselves off from ourselves. In this video, to create and restore Joy in our lives, Brené Brown invites us to practise Gratitude (the regressive form of the word Ingratitude); she invites us to say thank you. Our ego misleads us by placing expectations in others that only serve our need of recognition. Let’s take our ego (fear) by surprise by first saying thank you, without expecting anything in return. Brené Brown’s concept is truly interesting and intelligent, and yet the subconscious will try to get around it at the very first opportunity. Let’s be thankful at all times throughout life to prevent us from falling into the fear of not being loved.
No my family isn’t perfect, no my job isn’t perfect, no my friends are not perfect, no my children are not perfect, no I am not perfect, I am simply alive… for now… and I am happy with that. And what if the Ego was using perfection as an illusion to enslave us?