I have long been a fan of Brené Brown, ever since I saw her 2010 TED talk (I’ve embedded the video below).

You may not immediately get the links between obesity and what Brené talks about, but there are a number of them.  For instance, her key research interest is in shame, and who of us obese people isn’t ashamed of it at some level?  We know we shouldn’t be ashamed; we’re not the lazy, greedy slobs that everyone thinks we are, but we’re ashamed anyway.

But Brené’s chief subject is that of connection:

Connection is our ability to forge meaningful, authentic relationships with other people.

I believe that connection is the essence of the human experience.

It is what breathes life into, and gives meaning to our lives.

… and I think that “meaningful, authentic relationships” can be a true source of comfort, the comfort that we mistakenly seek in food.  She says that it is shame that impedes our ability to make connections, because it raises the fear that people will not want to be with us, because we’re too fat, too thin, too old, too ugly, not strong enough, not successful enough, not manly, or womanly, enough.

Food, of course, doesn’t judge us.

It just kills us!

Here’s an 8-minute clip of Brené, talking about shame and empathy, two ends of a spectrum:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQiFfA7KfF0

Here’s her 2010 TED talk, the one that has over 600,000 views on You Tube, and probably many more on the TED website.  It’s where she begins to outline her concept of “Whole-heartedness”, which I think will become a core concept of Together We Can, just as soon as I manage to relate it to the Secure Attachment Status described by Bowlby and others.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0

… and here is Brené at TED once more, in March 2012, talking about shame.  This is very powerful for me, and many others, I think.

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B002OIKZAG" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/313GVswPItL._SL160_.jpg" width="133"]If you want to know more about her, check out her website: http://www.brenebrown.com/welcome.  That’s where I discovered her “Connections Curriculum“, which I am looking forward to bring back from Florida in a couple of weeks.

One post script.  By making these talks, and publishing this stuff, Brené walks her talk, makes herself vulnerable, and, sometimes, gets kicked in the teeth.  I’m sorry for that, and I admire her courage, and I hope that I can learn something from her, and stand up for what I believe in as passionately as she does.

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="159285849X" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51UFbjZel0L._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]Here she is discussing the price of being vulnerable in public.  What can you do?  Can we overcome stuff like this?  Probably not. Can we find ways to live with ourselves and our passions, in a world that has such people in it?  I believe that Together We Can.  It’s about who you make connections with, the integrity of those connections, and how you cut connections that don’t serve.

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