Feb 07

“Daring Greatly” By Brene Brown: Aim For What You Want

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 at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Theodore Roosevelt

One of Brené Brown‘s most recent books is Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (2012)Her theme is inspired by the above quote from Roosevelt.

States the publisher: “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.”

What’s Worse Than Being Vulnerable? Brown answered this in “Oprah’s Lifeclass” by describing her perception of what daring greatly is: “I think being vulnerable feels dangerous, and I think it feels scary, and I think it is terrifying. But I don’t think it’s as dangerous, scary, or terrifying as getting to the end of our lives and wondering, what if I would have shown up?”

Some Other Key Quotes

As I look back on what I’ve learned about shame, gender, and worthiness, the greatest lesson is this: If we’re going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To set down those lists of what we’re supposed to be is brave. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.

I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

Wholeheartedness. There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.

Worrying about scarcity is our culture’s version of post-traumatic stress. It happens when we’ve been through too much, and rather than coming together to heal (which requires vulnerability) we’re angry and scared and at each other’s throats.

Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.

We judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we’re doing. If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.

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.

Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.

Numb the dark and you numb the light.

Below Brown speaks with Oprah about some of these issues:

Feb 04

“Redefining Realness”: Trans Writer Janet Mock’s Memoir

Out today is Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock. Mock was established as a writer in New York City before she publicly disclosed her transgender identity in 2011. At that time the story of Mock’s transition and coming out was published in Marie Claire.

Now, her new book delves into much more about her life. The publisher of Redefining Realness states:

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

In an interview last month with Autostraddle, Mock was asked what advice she’d give “to someone who is trying to live true to themselves or who is struggling with who they are”:

I think number one is tap into yourself and take your time… …(W)hat I would say to someone is don’t look to these big role models that now you hold up on a pedestal. Look to those who are right in process with you. Because you see that they’re taking their time, that it takes a long time to find yourself. So take your time finding yourself, take your time finding and honing your voice, if you’re a writer or storyteller or an artist, whatever that point of view is, and to really tap into yourself. And when I say tap into yourself, I mean like really find out who you are. Like beyond the labels that people may have embraced for themselves and find the labels that are you, you know?

Selected Reviews of Redefining Realness

Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Stuck in the Middle With You: “Janet Mock’s groundbreaking book is testimony to the remarkable progress trans people have achieved over the last decade– and shines a bright light on the work that still needs to be done. Mock’s clear, lucid prose will open hearts and minds, and further the goals of equality and justice–not just for trans people, but for everyone. Redefining Realness is loving, searing, and true.”

Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History: “Redefining Realness overflows with the everyday magic of survival and resiliency in low income communities of color, of loving kindness bursting through the cracks of a hard reality, and of the life-sustaining bonds of family, friendships, and a powerful trans sisterhood.”

Kirkus Reviews: “From learning her father was addicted to crack to the childhood sexual abuse she sustained to the street sex she performed to gain enough money for her sex-change operation, Mock allows readers into the deepest and darkest moments of her life…It is an eye-opening and unapologetic story that is much greater than mere disclosure; it is a necessary assessment that a transgender person is as normal as any other person who claims the title of normalcy and that gender and body shape do not form a person’s identity.”

You can watch her book trailer below: