Courage, Vulnerability and a Red Coat

I watched Brene Brown’s talk “The Call to Courage” twice last week. It makes you laugh out loud and also burst into tears. If you can, I’d say watch it. Maybe you remember Brown from her 2010 TED talk that brought her unexpected fame. In “The Call to Courage”, Brown gets into a lot of detail about that TED talk, what motivated her to give it, and the moment she saw the online comments after the talk. She declares, even as an academic who has spent years researching shame and vulnerability, there was no way for her to stay unaffected by the contemptuous comments of strangers. She also talks about how hurtful it was to face them. 

When Sade first came out, we had a fun interview with Ayse Arman. Later, Arman shared a photo of the three of us on her instagram page. We not only looked at the photo but also to all the comments that were below it. What really hurt me was one user who referred to the red coat that I was wearing in the photo and said “She’s talking about living simply but wearing a red coat”. Begum was also hurt by a stranger’s negative comment about her. It is unique to our time that strangers get to make comments about you for the whole world to see. I thought I had made peace with the red coat comment but I think I managed to really do so after hearing about the Roosevelt citation in Brown’s talk. Take a look at your past and remember all the moments in which you were brave enough to put yourself out there. All the moments that you risked being unsuccessful, ashamed and hurt. And think again before listening to the comments of people who have never had the courage to put themselves out there like that. 


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