Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.
If you’ve visited a bookstore at any point over the last decade, chances are good that a new bestseller by Brené Brown was on display.
But if you missed her 5 best-selling books, TED talks, and national speaking tours… you’re in luck.
Because she’s made her way to your Netflix account.
For the legions of fans who soak up her every word, the message Brené Brown shares in her new special, The Call to Courage, feels intuitive and essential.
For the population at large, however, it’s still fairly radical stuff she’s talking about.
It might be uncomfortable, but it’s good news for all of us.
Read on for 5 reasons Brené Brown and her new special are good news for emotional wellness:
1. She highlights vulnerability as essential to a full life.
You can’t have love, belonging, and joy without being seen, without vulnerability.
So, what is vulnerability, anyway? Brown is quick to differentiate between indiscriminate self-disclosure (e.g., sharing your every opinion and choice on social media) and real vulnerability, which she defines as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” In other words, vulnerability is not so much about what or how widely you share, but what it means to you to be sharing it.
2. She cautions against seeking others’ opinions without boundaries.
Ask for feedback from people who love you, not despite your imperfection and vulnerability, because of your imperfection and vulnerability.
We’ve all experienced the sting of criticism. And Brown has some hard opinions about how much value we should place on the opinions of those who aren’t willing to be vulnerable themselves (i.e., no value at all). Instead, she encourages us to think carefully about the people in our lives and consider who truly sees us, imperfections and all. These are the very people we should be entrusting to give us feedback, she says.
3. She reminds us that simple gratitude can connect us to the bigger picture.
When you are grateful for what you have, you can understand and appreciate the magnitude of what others don’t have…When we lose something, the simple ordinary moments are what we miss the most…
Gratitude is such a simple, yet powerful, practice. And according to Brown, it not only has the power to shape our perspective on the parts of our lives that are most valuable… it also deepens our appreciation for how much we have in relation to others.
4. She challenges us to strive toward crucial conversations rather than perfectionism.
When we build cultures where perfectionism is rewarded, difficult productive conversations are not possible…Bring your whole self and your whole heart to work.
From the conference room to the dinner table to our interactions on social media, we have so many opportunities to engage in important conversations. What kind of conversations are you currently having? Surface-level small talk? Gossip? Brown contends that our willingness to go deeper in our dialogues with one another is tied to our willingness to be imperfect, to say “I don’t know” and “I’m sorry”. When we can push past the need to be perfect, our conversations– and our relationships– will thrive.
5. She urges us to be active participants in our own lives.
For me, the fear of shame, the fear of criticism, was so great in my life, up until that point, just paralyzing, that I engineered smallness in my life.
“Playing small” vs. “playing big” doesn’t have to be about giving up on a dream career or some kind of grand opportunity. For most of us, it comes down to countless little choices each day. Do I take a healthy risk? Share what I’m feeling? Set that boundary? Or not? Added up over a lifetime, Brown asserts these choices make all the difference.
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Intrigued or inspired by the messages of Brené Brown? Looking for help applying them to your life?