Friday, August 19, 2011

Whole Hearted Living (Brené Brown)

"Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It's about 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."  Brené Brown
I mentioned in a post on July 17th that I was taking an online class that would likely “drag up a bunch of stuff for me to deal with”. Well, it’s hard to believe but that class is ending now and I have a few things to say about the experience.

First, let me tell you what I told a dear friend about this class:
"She (Brené Brown) has these "badges" on her blog that are for putting on your own blog. One says "I choose authenticity" and the other says "I choose to live and love with my whole heart." That's what the course is theoretically leading up to. I will make a little progress but I will never be able to choose authenticity or to live and love with my whole heart. Never. I can't let go like that." --Me
For a long while now, I have just been trying to work on accepting the “fact” that I am just hopelessly broken and can only go so far in my personal growth. I considered the idea of worthiness and living and loving with my whole heart as being totally out of my reach because of that “brokenness.” 

For a long while now, I have also lived with a very guarded heart. I feel like I’ve kept it fairly well hidden, that I was good at pretending and playing along at being open, but when it was just me, myself and I, I knew the truth, and that truth was (and still is, to some degree), I will only let people so far into my heart. I am very protective of me. And all the vulnerability stuff she talks about? Don’t even get me started on that! I HATE vulnerability! But there were some things I heard in this class that meant a great deal to me. One of the things I heard was that you can’t have community without vulnerability. And I know that I desire a sense of community so I guess I am going to take some risks. (And of course, the very safe and protective part of me is saying, “Remember, she said to tell your story to people who have earned the right to hear it, in relationships that can bear the weight of the story.” So yes, I will still be somewhat guarded, I suppose, but I will also be more mindful about paying attention to the possibilities of connection and less worried about self-protection. And now that other part of me is also saying, “Remember, she said you won’t do this perfectly.” Now THAT’S a more helpful reminder, Miss Safe and Protective part of me!)

I was not always this way and I have my suspicions as to why I became this way. I think part of it has to do with one of my first great sorrows (see quote in the photo below). I may write more about that sorrow one of these days. At the very least, I will spend some time in my journal trying to pull apart the threads. Maybe healing will come in that area of pain. I’d sure like that.

Goodness, I haven’t said anything about what this is really all about! It’s really about SHAME and how people experience shame in their lives and how nobody wants to talk about it. The very same friend who I told I would never be able to choose to live and love with my whole heart was the first to gently point out that some of the things I said and believed about myself come from a place of shame (give credit where credit is due, he is not a “normal” everyday friend, he is a therapist, so he knows about these things!). So when I heard Brené’s talk on shame and vulnerability, believe me, my ears perked up and, give me credit where credit is due, I KNEW she was talking about stuff I desperately needed to hear. 

So, today, I have added the dadgum badges. They will remind me of the life I hope to live, of the person I’d like to be. We were asked early in the class which things we might take on our journey into this new experience and which things we would leave behind. Two of the things I said I’d leave behind were the lock that goes on my heart and the shield that covers my heart. Lord knows, that shield is heavy and as I’ve said before, “a locked heart is a useless heart”.

"When we start engaging with the world from a place of worthiness, the opposite of shame, from a place of “I am enough”, we walk into our power, we walk into our gifts, we walk into possibility, we walk into love and belonging, not only the ability to give it but to receive it, to let ourselves be seen and known and I think that’s what it’s all about." Brené Brown
Lord, I surely do hope so. May it go straight from Brené’s mouth to your ear.    : )

(If any of this resonates with you, or if you just want more information, here is the link to the TED talk that first got my attention, She also has many talks on YouTube. She is an engaging and funny speaker. Also, here is the link to her website, I would put a link to the course but I did not see one. Maybe she will offer it again sometime. The course is called "Ordinary Courage".)


  1. A shield can make a nice serving tray. I would appreciate whatever parts of yourself you want to offer.

  2. Love you courage! Rock on, sister!

  3. That course is well-named. All the way through reading this, I was impressed with the courage it took to write/do.

    You rock, Diane.

  4. Oh, Cyn, thank you! You really do inspire me! What a great idea about the serving tray!

    Thank you, Brené! The course was fantastic and very timely for me!

    Thanks, Rach! Courage is not usually one of my strengths! You rock too!

  5. What a long way you have come.
    I don't know how that sounds but I have to say it. I remember when we first "met"... I sure didn't know you well, but I imagine you would not have even considered doing such a thing as you are doing now... you can't imagine how far you can go if you keep on like this. Go you, and Rock ON and what an inspiration to read this. Thanks for directing me to it, I might have missed it since I forget to read blogs much these days. What amazing choices.... I've got tears. wonderful wonderful.

  6. That I have come a long way sounds good and true to me, Captainwow! Thanks for your affirmation and encouragement!

  7. Wow! I love that you posted those badges, and everyday I hope you say to yourself those very same things. Because you are enough. Just the way you are. You have come a long long way, and we go back a ways....many talks, two campers without flashlights trying to find their way back from the latrine in the dark.... yeah..... I know.... I think it's wonderful. I am so proud of you, and I hope you can be as proud of you as I am of you... whew... that was redundant huh?

  8. my comment disappeared..... was that a sign? good Lord.... it was a good one too.

  9. Thank you, Lori. I guess I should have expected that when I put those badges up and declared I was going to DO it, something would push back. Surely I will weather the storm as well as I can...


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