I chose ?the courage to show up and be seen? as my theme for my 51st year in my quest to recover from years of attempted perfectionism and minimizing myself with shame. In a venerable and honest way, Brene shares her personal journey transitioning from living in scarcity (never enough) to living wholeheartedly: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks and knowing that ?I am enough.?
Growing up in a house where emotions were largely suppressed left me feeling unworthy whenever I felt fear, shame, grief, sadness, or disappointment. And who among us doesn’t ever feel those emotions? I experienced a big ?aha? moment while reading Daring Greatly. After years of guarding my emotions and protecting myself from vulnerability, I realized I’m ready to let go of allowing achievement, success, and approval from others be my core values. I chose courage as my guide. Courage is what I value if I mess up or don’t get the results I expect. Shame is no longer have a hold on me. I am worthy because I practice courage.
In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.
In choosing a title for her new book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Bren? harkened back to a speech that Teddy Roosevelt gave in 1910. In it, Roosevelt said:
?It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.?
Allow me to share my 3 favorite quotes and concepts from the book:
?Raising children who are hopeful and who have the courage to be vulnerable means stepping back and letting them experience disappointment, deal with conflict, learn how to assert themselves, and have the opportunity to fail. If we’re always following our children into the arena, hushing the critics, and assuring their victory, they?ll never learn that they have the ability to dare greatly on their own.?
One of the most difficult aspects of parenting is letting our children find their own way, sometimes watching them fail. However, stepping aside and NOT trying to rescue them is the only way they learn the courage to believe in themselves.
?Not only we are feeling fearful, out of control, and incapable of managing our increasingly demanding lives, but eventually our anxiety is compounded and made unbearable by our belief that if we were just smarter, stronger, or better, we?d be able to handle everything .?
I often wonder how many people who suffer from depression could live a more joyful life if they just felt more worthy and less shameful. Brene wisely and pointedly addresses this issue.
?There’s a quote that I share every time I talk about vulnerability and perfectionism. My fixation with these words from Leonard Cohen’s song ?Anthem? comes from how much comfort and hope they give me as I put ?enough? into practice: ?There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.?
Brene Brown’s gifted words have taught me to love myself exactly as I am, including the cracks. Daring Greatly has a permanent place on my nightstand.
About Brene Brown:
Brene Brown, Ph.D. and LMSW, is a research professor at the University of Houston’s Graduate School of Social Work. Among her many other credentials, her 2010 TEDx Houston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most watched talks on TED.com with over 9 million views. She gave the closing talk, Listening to Shame, at the 2012 TED Conference in Long Beach.