Bestselling author Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor who has spent more than a decade studying vulnerability and worthiness. She says opening yourself up is one of the most powerful things you can do -- but during her appearance on "Oprah’s Lifeclass,"she warns that not everyone should be trusted.
"How do you make yourself be vulnerable with somebody you don't completely trust, like in a relationship?" an audience member asks in the above video.
"You don't," Brown answers.
"Because you know what? This is it," she says, gesturing to her heart. "What's under here is the most valuable thing you have. It's the most valuable gift you give to all of us. It's the most valuable offering you have in your life and people have to earn the right see it. They have to earn the right to see it and they have to know when they're seeing it that it's an absolute honor and privilege for you to have let them in."
Oprah points to a similar question she and Brown received on Twitter: "How do you foster an environment of #vulnerability when your partner sees it as #weakness?"
"If you're being vulnerable, you're opening up your heart, and the other person thinks that that's weak of you -- you are with the wrong person," Oprah says.
"It's an awesome filter," Brown agrees.
As an example, Brown tells a story of a time she tried to be vulnerable with one of the mothers at her daughter's school.
"I was talking to someone and I was like, 'Oh, yeah, last year there was a whole week where every day I gave the wrong kid the wrong lunch half the time,'" Brown shares. "And she looked at me and she goes, 'Oh, I don't think I've ever had that experience.'"
"And I was, like, off the list, baby!" Brown says.
Though in this case it was easy for Brown to see that this woman didn't deserve her vulnerability, she goes on to say that in other cases, it can be painful.
"Here's what's scary, and we should not B.S. you about this," Brown says. "You start trying this on,” she says -- meaning becoming more authentic and vulnerable -- "there will be a pushback. You're going to freak out some people. You're going to scare some people."
By showing your vulnerability to someone, Brown explains that you're asking that person to be vulnerable in return. "The pushback will be, what are you doing? We had a deal. You keep this closed. I keep this closed. That was our deal," she says.
"This is transformational stuff," Brown says.