Why Brené Brown Grabs Your Attention

“Knowledge is important, but only if we’re being kind and gentle with ourselves as we work to discover who we are.”

Goodbye shame, blame and guilt!  Hello compassion, courage and worthiness.

Finally!  Someone is telling me that I don’t have to read every self-help book, attend the latest guru’s seminars (with or without hot-coal walking) or dig through the rubbish in my inner trash can to become fully present to the beauty of who I am.

The answers to some of the most important questions you’ll ever ask yourself don’t have to be gained by a rigorous and intense self fact-finding mission.

As an over-analyzing, look-at-all-the-angles kind of gal, I tend to wear out before I get my answer.  If you’ve ever secretly (or not-so-secretly) hoped and prayed for a simpler, softer truth process, then Brené Brown’s work will get your attention too.

It’s a gentler option than brow-beating.  Full disclosure, however:  the core work is still necessary.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy–the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Brené writes at length about the stories we tell ourselves.  One of my sponsors is also fond of asking me if what I’m describing to her is factual or a story I’ve created loosely based on the facts.
Translated, that means, “Beth, are you letting your emotions blow things WAY out of proportion?”
It takes greasy, grimy gopher guts to really own our stuff.

If you’re ready to brave some of the darker corners of your story, check out Brene’s work on vulnerability and shame.  She has inciteful–and entertaining–TED talks and is popping up everywhere these days.

If I were inclined to travel to the University of Houston in the summertime (which I’m not) to sit in on one of her classes, she probably wouldn’t be there.  Dr. Brown is bending a lot of ears with her Wholehearted Living concept; I think she’s even heading to an Oprah taping later this month.

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.  It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in  the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.  It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

Her way of combining story-telling about her personal self-love journey–peppered with no-nonsense sentences like, “I am so pissed off!”–with wise counsel focused heavily on authenticity, is what appeals to me.

Brené Brown is a self-identified shame researcher who also teaches shame resilience.  By the way, we all possess shame.  ALL of us. She believes–and will convince you too–that embracing resilience techniques will change the world.

Change starts with conversations that reveal our vulnerability, by sharing your experiences so that someone else has hope for change.

“We can talk about courage and love and compassion until we sound like a greeting card store, but unless we’re willing to have an honest conversation about what gets in the way of putting these into practice in our daily lives, we will never change.  Never, ever.”

Is there an experience in your life that brought you face-to-face with your imperfections?  How did it change you?

The referenced quotes are from Brené’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection.


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