The Power of Gratitude: allowing personal experience to make social relationships more meaningful

Written by Claire Boggs, WLLC 2015-2016

The human experience of love is such a unique one as love is an incredibly wide topic that is different for all who feel and experience it. We as humans have constructed a distinction between the negative and the positive based on how we feel, with a constant strive towards the positive. This correlation implies that negative is alienated while positive is praised, yet interestingly, according to Brené Brown’s 2010 Ted Talk “The Courage to be Vulnerable,” “when you ask people about love, they will tell you about heartbreak” (4:10). We hold these two polar opposite experiences together in the tread of definition, making ourselves believe that they are repellent of each other and that one cannot be felt alongside the other.

Brown discusses in her talk the topic of vulnerability, and loosely defines it as a fear of not being able to connect or deemed worthy of connection. Humans have demonstrated a knee-jerk reaction to hate vulnerability, and strive to numb it through various coping indulgences. Yet, as time goes in, it is discovered that “we cannot selectively numb” (16:30). The presence of vulnerability is what allows for all joys such as creativity, passion and feeling to be experienced.

So, left with a desire to rid ourselves of vulnerability, yet also experience the joys that ultimately stem from it; we as a population are left at a standstill. Brown offers advice on how to deal with this internal conflict offering that “to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive” (19:50). She speaks of practicing gratitude and joy in moments of fear in order to bring oneself to a place of acceptance of hardship.

This suggestion of healing is particularly meaningful to me, having just come out of a “Jar of Happiness” practice. In this practice, one writes every moment of happiness they experience throughout a day and complies them into a jar of positivity. Learning to recognize the good found in one’s life I foresee being immensely helpful in working to face difficult situations with this such mindset and emotional state. Learning to face adversity with positivity is how one is able to establish a well-rounded life of satisfaction.


Brown, Brene. “The Power of Vulnerability.” Ted. N.p., June 2010. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

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