Brené Brown is a professor, author, well-known TED speaker, and researcher who studied courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy for 20 years. Starting with her first and self-published book, “Women and Shame,” she authored many best selling books including Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection, and Dare to Lead.
I wanted to share about her today because her book Daring Greatly was pivotal for me to develop more self-awareness and live a more fulfilled life. Brené Brown taught me to own my story and love myself is the courageous thing to do. Her words helped me take off the heavy armor that I’ve carried for a long time and feel vulnerable but stay true to myself.
I am a big fan of her motto, “Courage over comfort.” In her books, podcasts, and blogs, Brené Brown shares her story of every day challenge to live up to her motto and her previous struggles as well.
I would like to share one of the stories from her blog. She quit drinking and smoking in 1996 after realizing that much of what had been dressed up as hard living was really an addiction and mental health issue. Below is her story about sobriety from her blog: What Being Sober Has Meant to Me.
Ten years after I got sober, my breakdown spiritual awakening started. In addition to not drinking, I had just quit sugar and bread for the first time. I thought I was going to come out of my skin. I sat across from my therapist, Diana, and said, “You need to give me something for my anxiety. I can’t take it. There’s nothing to take the edge off anymore. I’m freaking out.”
Diana calmly replied, “What do you want me to give you?”
Infuriated by her calmness, I said, “I don’t know! Medicine. Something for the anxiety! I’m like a turtle without a shell. I have NO SHELL! No booze, no muffins, nothing! I’m a turtle without a shell in a briar patch. Everything in the briar patch is poking me and jabbing me. It hurts.”
She said, “Maybe we should talk about getting out of the briar patch?”
I was pissed. “Get out of the fucking briar patch? That’s your advice? Instead of giving me a new shell, you want me to live somewhere less prickly? Seriously?”
Diana said, “You don’t need to find a different place to live. Maybe we could just think about a different way to live. One that doesn’t require that heavy shell.”
Does this story resonate with you? Her books are friendly and easy to read but touch the critical issues in our life, career and parenting. Her superpower is to guide us with her own stories and her social work studies and help us realize that it is common for us to look for love and belonging. She inspires us to face vulnerable emotions as they are and live a wholehearted life by choosing courage over comfort.
-Written by Sujin Kim, a member of women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters
Header Photo Credit: AP News