Brene Brown has released a new book! Just thought I’d put it out there in case you didn’t now already! Cause if you’re like me, reading her material is like digging deep into yourself and finding the perfect words to articulate whatever is going on into your mind.
I wish she would be my friend, I wish we could chat for hours, cup of coffee in hand and forever repeating “What, you feel that way too? So I’m not crazy after all!”
I needed her new discoveries and the richness of her material to refresh my mind and my soul and it perfectly did!
After my last post, I received many messages asking me if I was OK... the vulnerability that I allowed myself to put out there helped me release some strong emotions I had been holding on to for quite a while and helped me cross over to a new and different kind of thinking. Which lead me to some more thinking(obviously ;p)
It lead me to ask myself if anybody else allowed themselves to sit in this uncomfortable space for a while(like I did) choosing to feel every emotion as they came and then releasing them to make room for something new, something more, something different.
As I was going through this process, I received all kinds of “feedback”.... Some I appreciated more than others.
I also realized how vulnerability can be soooo frightening for some people... how some people can actually live their whole lives without ever allowing themselves to feel too much or open up too much or just sit with their emotions. Many people try to find some kind of bandage rather than going through the process of dealing with “unwanted” emotions... But that wasn’t gonna be me!
Like Adam Grant puts it:
“I need time for my confusion.” Confusion can be a cue that there’s new territory to be explored or a fresh puzzle to be solved”
-from the book Think again: The power of knowing what you don’t know(my next read!!!)
Like many people try avoiding vulnerability, I also found that many of them avoid confusion...
“It turns out that confusion, like many uncomfortable things in life, is vital for learning(...)confusion has the potential to motivate, lead to deep learning and trigger problem solving(...) When we’re trying to work through our confusion, we need to stop and think, engage in careful deliberation, develop a solution and revise how we approach the next problem. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but how often do we observe people dismissing new data or information that challenges our ideas, in order to avoid confusion or the risk of being wrong? If you ask me, stopping to think, engaging in careful deliberation, and revising old thinking are rare and courageous actions. And they require dealing with a healthy dose of confusion. And that’s uncomfortable!”
So, as much as I appreciated people reaching out to me, I was allowing myself to be uncomfortable while dealing with my confusion cause I refuse to go through life without ever questioning or stopping to re-evaluate and make space for new learning! It wasn’t particularly comfortable, but it absolutely was worth it!
I wanted to be curious about emotions that were new to me, and a vision for my life that was different from what I had always envisioned.
“Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty. We have to ask questions, admit to not knowing, risk being told that we shouldn’t be asking, and, sometimes, make discoveries that lead to discomfort.”
“Our childlike curiosity is often tested as we grow up, and we sometimes learn that too much curiosity, like too much vulnerability, can lead to hurt. As a result, we turn to self-protecting- choosing certainty over curiosity, armor over vulnerability, knowing over learning. But shutting down comes with a price- a price we rarely consider when we’re focused on finding our way out of pain.”
I listened to many audiobooks like “Everything happens for a reason and other lies I’ve loved” by Kate Bowler and “When things fall apart” by Pema Chodron... and they were as good as they were uncomfortable. They were worth listening to!
If you are familiar with Brene Brown and if you have listened to her famous TED talk you know how much she loves the term BELONGING and how everything in her research comes back to that!
For the first time ever, while reading her new book, this word resonated with me in a new way. I get how she emphasizes the difference on belonging and fitting in but I had never caught to the idea of belonging to oneself...
“Our yearning for belonging is so hardwired that we often try to acquire it by any means possible, including trying to fit in and hustling for approval and acceptance. Not only are these efforts hollow substitutes for belonging, but they are the greatest barriers to belonging. When we work to fit in and be accepted, our “belonging” is tenuous. If we do or say something that’s true to who we are but outside the expectations or rules of the group, we risk everything. If people don’t really know who we are and what we believe or think, there’s no true belonging. Because we can feel belonging only if we have the courage to share our most authentic selves with people, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self- acceptance.We can never truly belong if we are betraying ourselves, our ideals, or our values in the process. That is why it’s a mistake to think that belonging is passive and simply about joining or ‘going along’ with others. It’s not. BELONGING IS A PRACTICE THAT REQUIRES US TO BE VULNERABLE, GET UNCOMFORTABLE, AND LEARN HOW TO BE PRESENT WITHOUT SACRIFICING WHO WE ARE. When we sacrifice who we are, we not only feel separate from others but we even feel disconnected from ourselves.”
I am proud of how I am learning to belong to myself above all else and learning to embrace being uncomfortable if it means true belonging and connections with the people I love!
Which brings me to something else I am now able to put into words that I always felt yet again did not know if it was just me being “weird” or if my intuitions could be trusted.
You know how you get that funny feeling when you are with someone and wonder: Are they for real? Why does this person who seems so nice sends out such weird vibes? Am I being crazy or is there something going on here that I just don’t have the knowledge to put into words?
Well I learned a new concept reading that book.... The concept of near enemies of emotions which is described as follows:
“On the surface, the near enemies of emotions or experiences might look and even feel like connection, but ultimately they drive us to be disconnected from ourselves and from each other. Without awareness, near enemies become the practices that fuel separation, rather than practices that reinforce the inextricable connection of all people.”
Here are a few examples of near enemies: showing pity and comparing suffering rather than practicing compassion, attachment over love, performing non-judgement but judging, comparing, blaming and distancing over practicing non-judgement... (see the difference between performing and practicing... and the saying that goes ‘practice makes perfect’, practicing an emotion with someone does not mean that you get it right the first time, but at least it means that you are willing to try, while performing means you put on a show, there is no vulnerability going on here, just you trying to act like you care yet not getting too involved emotionally... my own little input ;)) to name just a few.
“I needed the concept of near enemies because when it comes to cultivating meaningful connection, the far enemy-the real opposites-are not what get in the way most of the time. They’re easy to recognize-we don’t get tricked into believing that everything is okay; they are up front with their disconnection. It’s the near enemies of connection-the imposters that can look and feel like cultivating closeness-that sabotage relationships and leave us feeling alone and in pain.”
I must admit that I do fall into the trap of using the “near enemies” rather than putting myself out there risking being hurt or shamed but I am slowly learning that choosing the ‘generic’ version of an emotion in order to self-protect does not bring true connection nor true belonging... and if you know me, you know I’m all about connection.
Nothing brings me more joy than to connect with my people! And when near enemies creep in, something inside me tells me that what is going on is just not right. So here I am, trying my best to always practice the real thing and hopefully by practicing making it my default mode for years to come!
“Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
Life is beautiful when we can allow ourselves the luxury of sitting and marvelling at all the connections unravelling before us!
I never want to stop being curious or vulnerable, cause as uncomfortable as it may get, at least I get to know that I’m still alive!
All quotes(unless otherwise stated)are from the book Atlas of the Heart, by Brene Brown