Tag Archives: blog series about Brene Brown

30 Days of Brené Brown — Day 31: The Index

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Happy New Year’s Eve!

I report to you from the snowy shores of Buffalo, NY, where my boys and I are visiting my cousin and her team.

By the time you get this, I’m back on the road to my home with Mr. GrassOil and The Murph. Here is the index for all the quotes and posts in this 30-Day journey of self-awareness, the gifts of imperfection, embracing our vulnerability and learning to trust ourselves and more importantly, our people.

I want to thank everyone for joining this adventure. Not just of the blog series, which brought in some readers who are new to me, but also to everyone who has supported me on this entire blog adventure. Also, if this post is all wonky, it’s because I’m trying to do it on a tablet using the web-based thingamabob and the paragraph spacing is a nightmare. If a quote is in red, that’s the link.

. . . .

The internet is a silly thing. We take a risk by sharing our photos, our thoughts, our dreams and our goals. People think I am brave. I suppose I am. But I am chicken guano compared to some people our there who really take chances and reveal themselves to the work on this most unpredictable of mediums. While I believe in bravery, I also believe in caution.

Getting me to THIS POINT, “publicly” is big for me. But I also stand by everything I present, at least at the time I’m presenting it.

Right?!

I just returned from seeing “The Life of Walter Mitty” and I loved it although I will say that my cousin and I agreed that it fell short in some places. No pun against Ben Stiller who isn’t very tall. The takeaway is that we are here to live. No matter how shitty we think life is, we’re here to live it and take risks and jump. Seems trite, but it’s a nice message. A great quote in it from the storied face of Sean Penn is, “Beautiful things don’t ask for our attention.” Or something like that. I liked that line.

I’m going to try to keep things active here. This trip without my husband, has created appreciation for my own parents and the act, feat, and gamble of parenting itself. It’s a lot of work and we make mistakes all the time. Maybe I will write 30 days of parenting. Maybe I will post photos. Maybe I will share a video I like. I don’t know, but I do know that being active helps me get to know me.

ok. if there are errors in the formatting, it means i’ve allowed myself some imperfection here and i’m not going to sweat it, despite the fact that it really bugs me.

if i can’t let this slide, then all my embracing of this Brené Brown stuff is smoke and mirrors. if you think my pressing on is taking the easy way out by not correcting the formatting. you’re quite wrong. it’s not easier. not by a long shot.

So thanks, I really mean it. It’s been a very huge year for me personally.

Let’s do this.

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tags: faith

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12/27: my title: “I feel like a football player on a hockey rink” for the quote: “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” ― Brené Brown

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12/28: I skipped a quote entirely from #27 (because it was department of redundancy department and my being off by one day was giving me a tic) and went straight to: “We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.” ― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

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12/30: “To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.” ― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
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. . . .

Thanks, everyone!

30 Days of Brené Brown — Day 30! #heart #love #risk #joy #grace

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Welcome to it. Day 30 of 30! The final day. I have enjoyed this series a great deal and I’m a little sad to be packing things up, but it’s time. Really. I definitely got out of my rut. I didn’t see my family much nor get much memoir stuff going but … this final quote below is really such a boom!

To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

It’s like sailing. It’s like dancing. It’s like trust: you lean in, you let it take you somewhere, you give up all your fears, for just that gust of wind, for just that song or just that singular moment and it’s as if you could fly.

This quote excites me. It reminds me of those moments when my boys were little and they would run at me with their arms wide open and I’d hunker down in a squat, open my arms wide too and put my weight on the fronts of my feet and they’d come in for a landing and we’d huuuuuuuuug and huuuuuuuuuug so tight! I would press my face to smell their heads and squeeze them tighter.

I don’t know if it was their energy, the wind, the sun, their fearless love that made me fly or my unbridled love for them and the feeling of “everything is SO all right” in that, in those fantastic moments, but whatever it was: I wanted more of it.

This is a level of euphoria that I don’t think people could subsist on constantly because we need to get stuff done, but to me, it is those moments that help me keep going when I get distracted by the transition of not being grateful or feeling the feelings. Showing up, being real, letting it all out and saying, “Here is my emotional spleen!” (that’s the ’emotional pain’ Brown is talking about) and not sweating the repercussions nor worrying about the “oversharing hangover.”

Who knows what will become of our goals and our dreams if we give it all we got and we keep on giving? Most likely success! But we know what will happen if we do nothing: nothing.

It’s in those moments when we share with those we trust and love that we feel safest. When even though we might feel a hint of doubt, as if to wince upon the final syllable or after sharing, we are living. It’s as though we are standing at the precipice of hope, letting the uplift of air, cool and exhilarating or warm and enveloping, as though it were buffeted by the rocks below, that we are in our moments of truth.

“Take me as I am, world! This is all you get!” We shout from the edge, alive with defiance and dreams.

And then we can exhale!

Open one eye, look around.

For we have done it!

Open the other eye!

We have lived. We have risked backlash and we are still standing. We might be alone, but we are no longer afraid.

And that is living.

Welcome to your life. This ain’t no dress rehearsal; this is real. This is it. People are born and people die every day. If you’re struggling with something, lean into it. Grab it by the short hairs and get in the dirt with it. That’s where you will find yourself.

Thank you for joining me on this little Brené Brown journey.

This completes our program. Think about what 2013 has done for you and think about what 2014 can do for you.

Make a vision board, be audacious! Plan one with your kids or your spouse. Make your goals real. I bet you’ve gotten more done in 2013 than you think you did.

Thank you.

Ps. A little reminder of how life is so fleeting:

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30 Days of Brené Brown — Skip Day 28. Go to Day 29 #intertia #growth #gratitude #joy

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Hi there!

We’re just going to skip Day 28 altogether because I’ve written about it way too much and I think you’d agree. Here is the quote:

Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.
― Brené Brown

If you’re new here, read any (I promise) of the posts so far in this series and you’ll get the gist.

Instead, here’s Day 29’s which will bring us in sync with the calendar and I can let go of that nervous tic I’ve been having about the days being one off.

We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Nation smation.

What’s interesting about these quotes is not so much their ranking, but the drops in their popularity from one quote to the next. The rankings go from “98 Likes” to “80 likes” on Day 18 when I wrote about narcissism via the vulnerability lens… these two quotes above are in the high 60s. The love for Brown’s content drops like a grand piano midway through because I think she’s beating up her own content.

There are only so many times the brain can take “be vulnerable and you are brave” before it starts to vomit on itself.

And no one wants to clean up that.  

Ok… 

“We are a nation hungry for more joy.”

This quote sort of gets under my fingernails and bugs me in an ancient (1970s) wartime (Brady Bunch) fashion.

The people I know, with whom I consort all seem to be riding the “attitude of gratitude” bus. We are like those birds of the feather which flock together. We are the choir to whom we preach. Just as the people who might be hungry for more joy are likely flocking together, in the whole “misery loves company” sort of way.

Here’s me sitting in my very cheap seats: some people simply want to be numb or angry or feel victimized even though their liberation has come, and has been literally tapping its foot by the front door (to move on already, we’ve got reservations at The Plaza!!) or starving (with a buffet before them) but who don’t realize that Grace is right in front of them, asking to be recognized; asking to be considered and accepted. After the acceptance, Grace is synthesized and then acclimatized and then a part of the supposed banal experience of day-to-day life.

How boring it is to be grateful. How boring indeed.

I get it. I sit here in my office with my space heater and my dog. Typing away, waxing philosophic about getting in The Moment, letting it go… If you’re already here, you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

If you’re new:

I’ve not got much time left in this series so I’m just gonna let it all fly out: here we are. On this big blue planet. For a moment…. just take a second and look around you and then come back. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Ok. Did you look around you? Take another look. I’m good.

In what manner (mode) are you reading this post? Cell phone? Tablet? Desktop? Laptop? Are you in your house? In your car? Are you on a public computer at the library? Smile at someone! Are you at a friend’s house? Thank your friend for the broadband or the place to hang. Be sure to clean up after yourself, be a good guest. Your mom doesn’t work here. Don’t get pissy at me about the Mom reference; I am a mom and I lost my mom not too long ago, so while I get your sensitivity, I’m not going to back you.

Can you read or is this all gibberish to you? If it’s hard to follow, chances are you might have dyslexia. If it’s not dyslexia then you are doing alright. If you have dyslexia and you can still follow this, you are a brilliant genius, log off and go invent something; the world needs you. GO! Are you on a Smartphone? Look up. Smile at another human being. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Simply being able to provide for private access to the internet will cost about $40 a month on a smartphone plus the monthly subscription fee. Who’s paying for that? Say thanks for the funds!

What else do you read on the internet? The daily news? Good for you. Some humor? Even better. Do you cruise pop culture only? Hmm. I don’t even know what a Kardashian is. It sounds like a venereal rash.

Are you warm? Are you comfortable? Are you safe?

Anyway, the point I’m trying to get at is that you already have a lot to be thankful for. (That’s right, I ended a sentence in a preposition.) We haven’t even talked about health or neighbor issues, parents, relatives or kids. Can you for just one moment, look around you and be grateful for one thing? How about that you have vision? Or that you’re safe? Or that you’re reading my blog?! I mean… c’mon! Future Nobel Winner, right here! I’ve got this.

Ok, good. Now we’re getting somewhere. Look at the lightbulb nearest you and say thanks. To your EYES. Look down at your hands, or hand (maybe you’re disabled, and you have my consideration and my sympathy, your situation can be challenging). I am with you.

But you’re still here, aren’t you?

You have blood in your veins: you can be thankful.

I know.  “Shut up, Molly.”

“You don’t know my troubles, Molly.”

I guess. But I know this: Your troubles are different today; they are one day different. There is a way through them, not around them. When we confront them they are surmountable.

Sometimes the solution seems elusive. But one solution lies is in presence, quiet, repose and silence. Just for a few minutes. It’s like that book some blogger wrote about asking toddlers to give their moms a break to pee or something like that (I don’t know, I can’t be bothered with popular culture, I don’t have a daughter and my sons simply don’t care).

All you need is just a minute, just one. Quiet. In the midst of the chaos, you can still summon moments of repose. Inhale nice and strong, like a smoker on a cigarette. Deep, fill your lungs and exhale nice and slow.

See?

You can still create those moments, and then: ahh. Gratitude. For just that moment so you can look around and gather yourself. Leave your thoughts alone. Levity. Do it again!

Don’t starve for joy. It’s right there. I’m not trying to be glib, like the “At least …” sympathizer in the video below (which I’ve shared several times):

I’ve been there. Sometimes I am there still, dark and alone. But we can’t stay there for long. Happiness is lurking.

You can’t grab on to joy if you’re holding on to resentment; your hands are full; something has to go.

I know. Sometimes it’s not that simple. But I do know this: we have to start somewhere.

Thank you.

30 Days of Brené Brown — Day 29: #bullshit #worthiness #respect #enabling

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Welcome to Day 29 of “30 Days of Brené Brown.”

We are humming along here. Just about to wrap this thing up for a doggie bag.

Here is today’s quote:

Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Ok.

Granted: everyone is born into this world with no prison record or NSA scandal hanging over their heads, but I will say this: Worthiness does have requirements. You can’t be a jerk to people and expect them to want to be with you or to trust you after you’ve burned them a few times.

This is where Brown would be waaaay better as a counselor in a prison than I would.

I used to hear comments like Brown’s all the time growing up from my mom. It was complicated with her, she had her own agendas. As much as I wanted to trust her and to feel safe around her, the fact is that it never really happened. Who is “worthier” than the other in that situation?

It’s hard to say. I certainly was in no real position to judge although I sure tried.

I have to look at this etymologically now, it’s sort of bugging me.

worthy |ˈwərT͟Hē|adjective (worthier, worthiest) deserving effort, attention, or respect: generous donations to worthy causes.• having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way: issues worthy of further consideration. • good enough; suitable: no composer was considered worthy of the name until he had written an opera. noun (pl. worthies) often derogatory or humorous a person notable or important in a particular sphere: schools governed by local worthies. DERIVATIVES worthily |-T͟Həlē| adverb. worthiness noun ORIGIN Middle English: from worth + -y1.

Meh. Brown is losing me.

So I see the definition above and it makes me feel safe. In that definition, worthiness implies a prerequisite in deserving respect or attention.

What Brown is proposing above does not make me feel safe; in fact it makes me feel vulnerable, as though if I don’t show someone their worthiness, then I AM the bad guy. I am suspect.

I will sort of concede that’s not where she’s going, but I feel like my reaction is not at all unconventional. I would be willing to bet that if a total stranger in tattered clothing and disheveled condition showed up at her door that she’d not just let him or her in! without wondering about a reference or context or some manner of prerequisite.

C’mon… let’s all drive down to Houston and try it! I’ll not shower for the entire trip down and eat all my food in the car and use the clothes I’m wearing as my napkins. I’ll be at your place in an hour. Just gimme a moment to roll in some dog shit first before I get in my car.

prerequisite |prēˈrekwəzət|noun a thing that is required as a prior condition for something else to happen or exist: sponsorship is not a prerequisite for any of our courses. adjective required as a prior condition: the student must have the prerequisite skills.

Now this is bugging me.

She’s again, as far as I’m concerned, not making good writerly sense. It’s madness.

What I think she means to say is that everyone deserves respect as a fellow human being on this planet.

What I would LIKE to think she also means is that behaviors and actions speak louder than words and notions. I would so much sooner trust the fireman than the bank teller with my life in a crisis situation. I would so much sooner trust the fireman than the homeless guy for helping me with my car. I just would. Call me nuts.

I think Brown has really lovely kumbaya moments that sound nice in the books and make readers nod their heads and feel good about themselves and feel supported, but honestly, what if it’s misplaced? What if those people who are nodding their heads and saying, “HELLS YEAH, BRENÉ! SING IT! JIMMY COME LISTEN TO THIS!” just cheated on their taxes and stole money from their kids’ college savings accounts to gamble in the next state because they make really selfish and shitty choices?

Where does Brené Brown draw a line? Where does her brand of empowerment become simple and egregious enabling?

I dunno. But I can’t at all accept this quote on its terms. I need more. It’s not thick enough and I think it bears consideration that we all scratch our heads a little and not feel like jerks if we decide TO NOT grant our time or deem a person worthy who has repeatedly hurt us or others. No. Sorry.

No, I’m not sorry.

Sometimes we need to include ourselves worthy of not taking on someone else’s shit into our lives. Sometimes, enough is enough. Action shows worthiness.

I think that yes, worthiness absolutely has prerequisites. The opposite is just pollyanna bullshit.

Hrumph.

Thank you.