As It Is or As I Am – the Art of Becoming

A journey … towards … being

Tag Archives: vulnerability

A brave new ending?

A comment following a recent Facebook post I made, asked the question “What will be your new ending?” I’m not sure if the question was rhetorical or not? Anyway, decided to give a longer answer here, as on reflection various thoughts came to me. My status was commenting on a Brene Brown blog post –
“When we deny our stories, they define us.

When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”

This reminds me of something Carl Rogers wrote that I have seen occur in so many people and clients lives:

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

For me the two quotes blend or merge together in truth. When we deny things about ourselves, is it not the same as not accepting ourselves, as to who we currently are or where we are?

Accepting and owning our stories is often painful, as well as, initially shaming. How can we admit those things (that happened to us, that we did or still do, that we thought, felt or feel now) to ourselves, let alone anyone else? Yet, if we don’t as Brene Brown writes they will still “define us”. Anger will shape us, the addiction will swap us, the racism, the homophobia will shape our worldview.

Once we acknowledge we are an angry person, that we have an addictive personality, that we are racist, homophobic, look down on others who are different from us, or share any other not so nice quality, we can change. Such acceptance will bring shame. It will be painful to admit such to ourselves. Once we do so there is an inner freedom that comes – a release from the shame that debilitates us and prevents from real change. Underlying this acceptance and facing the shame is a willingness to be vulnerable.

However, such self confession, I believe, does not mean we are a bad or unworthy person. Are we not all filled with mistakes from our past, in our present and will yet make in our future? As we recognise, in our hearts, in our being, not just in our head and mind, that we are not bad, that yes, we may have done something not so good, the shame begins to diminish. Something happens inside us, that allows us to move through the shame and onwards towards change, to a new ending.

It is not so much about being faultless. Can we ever be? Is it not rather about our becoming, our changing, so we can “write a brave new ending” – whatever that ending will be?

Your ending will not be the same as my ending. Our endings may intersect, but we each will have our own ending.

Though, I wonder a little at describing this change as a “new ending“, brave or otherwise. Can we ever know our ending? I’d personally rewrite Beren’s sentence as:

“When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new beginning.”

Brené Brown at the Up Experience 2009

Another amazing presentation by Brené Brown. Shame – something we all (women and men) have, but don’t want to talk about. Worth 24 minutes and 45 seconds of your time.

Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

Last week I posted the video of Brené Brown: Listening to shame, saying I would post her other video, on vulnerability. As mentioned this video was recorded in 2010, whereas the “shame” one was recorded earlier this year. So here it is:

Interestingly it was also posted on the following person-centred forum:

However, I first came across it from a Linkedin group:

I find both videos enlightening, to the extent that last week I purchased Brené’s book: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to be and Embrace Who You are. This can be a very scary thing to do. In a short summary, it is having empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence toward and for ourselves. In other words accepting and loving who we are. Not necessarily being content but acknowledging where we are and NOT destroying ourselves because we’re not perfect. For many, many people this can be very hard to do, particularly for members of the LDS Church, with an ideal of being perfect. This is not the place for a theological discussion on the subject, expect perhaps to say that while there may be a goal for perfection, it is often sought inappropriately, leaving people with immense guilt and stress which is avoidable. For me this comes back to Carl Rogers statement, shown on the right and side of this page: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Brené’s book gives ideas on how to come to terms with where we are. An interesting part is her take on love:

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them—we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.” (bold highlight added by myself).

The question, for me, that seems to flow through the book, so far, is: how can I love you, if I do not really love myself? Also, how I can really accept your love, if I do not love myself?

Post edited at 18:30 GMT.

Brené Brown: Listening to shame

Brené Brown gave  a TED talk, in December 2010 titled: The power of vulnerability.  In March 2012 she gave the talk embedded above: Listening to shame.  Both are great. for me the talk above is more powerful.  It is 20 minutes long, though very, very, very (enough very’s there :)) worth your time. Particularly to anyone having a struggle with any feelings of guilt and / or shame. I would attempt to outline the talk more but feel that would deter from her message.  Take the time!!  I’ll post her previous talk another day.

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