You pave your road to greatness with concepts like the ones in Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
Daring Greatly is about living life to the fullest, showing up, feeling worthy and having the courage of being ourselves
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles. The credit belong to the man in the arena”.
Don’t stand in the stands of life, but read on and join us in the arena.
- Exec Summary
- Intro: Adventures In The Arena
- What’s Vulnerability
- How Does Vulnerability Feels
- Chapter 1: Scarcity- our culture of “never enough”.
- Chapter 2: Debunking the vulnerability myths.
- Chapter 3: Understanding and combating shame.
- Chapter 4: The vulnerability armors
- Chapter 5: closing the disengagement divide
- Chapter 6: Disruptive engagement
- Chapter 7: Wholehearted parenting
- How You Can Apply It
- Daring Greatly is being vulnerable: living life to the fullest and enjoy the highs while not being scared of the lows
- You are a worthy and enough human being: only wthen you embrace it you’ll be vulnerable and Dare Greatly
- “Your willingness to own and engage with your vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of your purpose”
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: Summary
Intro: Adventures In The Arena
For your benefit of understanding, Daring Greatly uses “arena” as in “life”, and “being in the arena” as “living live fully with an open soul”.
Vulnerability means engaging fully and openly with the world around us.
Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose.
On the other hand, the more we protect ourselves from vulnerability, the more fearful and disconnected we are.
Vulnerability is having the courage of putting ourselves out there. It’s the courage of being open despite knowing it might hurt us.
Vulnerability allows us to fully experience the joyful moments of our lives even though rationally we know they might not last.
Here are some examples of what Brene Brown’s research subjects replied to “what is vulnerability”:
- Sharing an unpopular opinion
- Standing up for myself
- Asking for help
- Saying no
- Starting my own business
- Helping my wife cancer with her will
- Initiating sex with wife or husband
- Encouraging my son to chase his dream while knowing it’s probably not going to happen
- Calling a friend whose child just died
- First date after divorce
- Saying “I love you” first
- Getting fired
- Falling in love
- Trying something new
- Getting pregnant after three miscarriages
- Waiting for the biopsy to come back
- Exercising in public when I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m out of shape
- Admitting I’m afraid
- Laying off employees
- Presenting my product to the world and getting no response
- Standing up for myself and for friends under criticism or gossiping
- Asking for forgiveness
As you can figure out, these are all ordinary events part of life. Indeed emotional exposure is not an option, it will happen anyway. The only question is: will you engage?
How Does Vulnerability Feels
And these were some of the answers to how does it feel being vulnerable:
- It’s taking off the mask and hoping the real me isn’t too disappointing.
- Not sucking it in anymore.
- It’s where courage and fear meet.
- Halfway a tightrope, and moving forward and going back are just as scary.
- Sweaty palms and a racing heart.
- Scary and exciting; terrifying and hopeful.
- Taking off a straitjacket.
- Going out on a limb—a very, very high limb.
- Taking the first step toward what you fear the most.
- Being all in.
- So awkward and scary, but it makes me human and alive.
- The terrifying point on a roller coaster when you’re about to take the plunge.
- Freedom and liberation.
- It feels like fear, every single time.
- Panic,fear, and hysteria, followed by freedom, pride, and amazement—then a little more panic.
- I know it’s happening when I feel the need to strike first before I’m struck.
- It feels like free-falling.
- Letting go of control.
What Vulnerability gives you
Vulnerability is the source of hope and authenticity. It gives us the emotions and experiences that we crave. Vulnerability is what allows us to feel love, belonging and joy.
Vulnerability and Love
The biggest example of vulnerability is possibly love.
We need to be vulnerable to fully appreciate love because while love can make us feel incredible, it has also the power to destroy us emotionally. Loving someone knowing they might betray us, or that things might not work out… That takes courage. And that’s vulnerability: opening our hearts and soul despite the risks.
Brene Brown recounts the time she’s looking at her daughter dancing and being goofy. She turns to her husband commenting how funny it is she loves her daughter even more for being so vulnerable and inhibited. And she tells him how great it would be being loved like that.
It was a key moment for Brene when her husband replies he loves her exactly like that. Brene understood adults can be loved for their vulnerabilities and not despite of them.
Empathy VS Shame
There’s a huge talk about narcissism these days.
And Brene says that narcissism is underpinned by shame. And you don’t fix it by criticizing or fingerprinting at the narcissist and shaming them. Shame is the cause, not the cure.
I found Brene Brown’s analysis of looking at today’s narcissism illuminating. It opened a new door for me.
She sees narcissism as the fear of being ordinary. The fear of not being good or extraordinary enough to be loved, to belong or to build a sense of purpose.
And she says she can see it happening in our society all around her. It’s incredibly easy for today’s children of reality TV and celebrity culture to feel they’re only as good as the number of “likes” they get.
Vulnerability VS Shame
Brene Brown tells she she stumbled upon shame and empathy research rather randomly.
She knew connection is why we are here in this world: connection is our biggest driver. So she started studying connection. But so many spoke instead about their fear of not being worthy of connection. And our fear of not being worthy of connection is shame.
She deep dived into vulnerability, shame, belonging and worthiness. And she came to discover that vulnerability was the epicenter of if all.
Brene Brown set out then to find out what people resilient to shame do.
She calls a life not impaired by shame “wholehearted living”.
Living Wholeheartedly means engaging our lives from a place of worthiness.
It means no matter what you manage to get done and what you don’t manage, you are enough. It means while you know you are imperfect and sometimes afraid, you are also brave and worthy of love and belonging.
Daring Greatly takes a leaf from Brene’s previous book “The Gifts of Imperfection” to tell us what we must cultivate to embrace wholeheartedness and vulnerability:
- Authenticity and let go of what people think
- Self compassion and let go of perfectionism
- Resiliency and let go of numbing and powerlessness
- Gratitude and joy and let go of scarcity
- Trust and faith and let go of the need for certainty
- Creativity and let go of comparison
- Play and rest and let go of “busy” and “stress” as self worth and status symbol
- Calmness and let go of anxiety
- Meaningful work and let go of what you are “supposed” to do
- Joy and let go of “cool” and “always in control”
From Brene’s research those who love, feel lovable and experience belonging believe they are worthy of love and belonging.
Brene also says that a strong belief in our worthiness is cultivated, such as we can learn it.
Today’s society doesn’t exactly help us being vulnerable though. So Brene says we should start by understanding what we’re up against.
Chapter 1: Scarcity- our culture of “never enough”.
We live in a strong “never enough” culture: never successful enough, never thin enough, never good enough.
Scarcity is dangerous because it destroys the most important building blocks of Wholeheartedness: owning our vulnerability and living our life knowing that we are worthy of it.
I found it hilarious and at the same time it rang so true when she said that for many of us the very first thought when waking up is “I didn’t get enough sleep”. And that’s only the opening salvo of our day. We then proceed to with not enough freedom, money and, of course, never enough time.
It’s something you want to think of because, Brene says, this “scarcity mindset” is what breeds jealousies, greed and our issues with life.
And if comparing weren’t already bad enough, we compare our lives to fake, media-driven “ideals” that are completely out of touch with reality.
The three components of scarcity
There are three components of scarcity and Brene Brown invites us to measure the social systems we’re part of to see how they stack up:
Shame: fear of ridicule, finger pointing, put downs.
Comparison: constant comparing and raking, being held to a narrow standard rather than acknowledged for unique contributions;
Disengagement: easier to keep to oneself rather than sharing and speaking? Nobody pays attention and listen?
The Opposite of Scarcity is Enough
The opposite of scarcity is not abundance because, Brene says, they’re two sides of the same coin. The opposite is enough.
The main tenets of wholeheartedness are vulnerability and worthiness. Worthiness means that you are enough.
Chapter 2: Debunking the vulnerability myths.
Myth 1: Vulnerability is weakness.
Brene asked a room of people if they struggle to be vulnerable because they think of it as weakness. Most raised their hands. Then she asked how many thought it was brave of people to go in front of the audience and be vulnerable. Again most raised their hands.
The point Brene makes is that we love and admire people being fully open, but we are afraid to let people see us being vulnerable.
Being all in and stepping into the arena is not weakness, is courage beyond measure.
And no need for anything bombastic: I loved when Brene says that “often the result of daring greatly isn’t a victory march as much as it is a quiet sense of freedom mixed with a little battle fatigue”.
Myth 2: “I don’t do vulnerability”
Vulnerability is the base upon which all emotions and feelings are built. Vulnerability is a daily encounter. Closing the door to vulnerability is closing the door to all that makes life meaningful and beautiful.
Not only that would be silly of us, but when we pretend that we can avoid vulnerability we engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be.
We will experience vulnerability no matter what, the only choice is how we will respond.
Myth 3: Vulnerability is putting it all out there
No, vulnerability is not oversharing. It’s not pestering strangers about your feelings and not plastering your Facebook wall of your love or broken heart. Vulnerability is sharing our feelings and experiences with a few inner circle people who have earned the right to enter our inner circle.
Being vulnerable becomes an integral part of the trust building process with those inner circle people.
Marbles Trust Jar
How do you know if you can trust someone to be vulnerable is an often asked question. And the answer Brene gives is that you build trust step by step. In her family she uses the “marble jar” reference. The jar represents the trust you have for someone. When someone does something that erodes that trust, you take some marbles away. When they do something to gain your trust you put marbles back.
It’s a great metaphor because, Brene says, because trust is not a big gesture but it’s a product of vulnerability that grows over time.
Disengagement is the worst betrayal
Talking about betrayals of trust I found it interesting when Brene says that there is a more insidious betrayal that usually precedes the “big gestures”, and that’s disengagement from a relationship. To stop caring.
Myth 4: We go at it alone
For all the lone wolves out there, among whom I count myself, Daring Greatly says that no, we can’t go at it alone. We need support. We need the support of people who truly care about us and will be there no matter what the outcome is.
It was incredibly interesting for me and it rang so true when she said that many of us are good at giving help but terrible at asking for help. And vulnerability and going at it together is also about asking for help.
Indeed Brene says ee can never really give with an open heart until we learn to receive with an open heart.
Brene’s greatest personal and professional transformations, she says, happened when she asked herself how her fear of vulnerability was holding her back and when she found the courage to overcome it and ask for help.
People in The Stands
I found enlightening when Brene says that the people who matter for us are the ones who are with us in the arena, supporting fighting with us. And the people who are criticizing in the stands, those, they don’t matter.
I do trust Brene when she says that nothing improved her life as much as letting go of what people in the stands say. I trust her because it’s been huge for me as well.
Chapter 3: Understanding and combating shame.
The only people who don’t have a feeling of shame are sociopaths. All the rest experience shame.
It’s important to know because to be vulnerable, we need to develop shame resilience.
Daring Greatly teaches us that shame draws its power from being unspeakable. So if we build awareness about shame and speak to it and about it we can defeat it.
And that’s where having a strong inner circle becomes important: if we can share our stories with someone who will respond with empathy and understanding, or if we can cultivate empathy and self-compassion with ourselves, then we’ll beat shame.
The Categories of Shame
Brene Brown says there are twelve categories of shame:
- Appearance and body image
- Money and work
- Mental and physical health
- Surviving trauma
- Being stereotyped or labeled
How Shame Feels like:
And here are some examples of people describing shame:
- Getting laid off and having to tell my pregnant wife.
- Being asked “hen are you due?” when I’m not pregnant.
- Raging at my children
- My boss calling me an idiot in front of the client.
- My husband leaving me for my next-door neighbor.
- Telling my fiancé that my dad lives in France when he’s in prison.
- My wife divorcing and telling she wants children but not with me.
- Flunking out of school.
- Hearing my parents fight through the walls and wondering if I’m the only one who feels this afraid.
Vulnerability, Sharing Art, Ego and Shame
Brene Brown tells us that sharing something you created is a key vulnerability moment in our lives.
Because of how you grew up or because of how you see the world, you might link your self-worth to how your work is received. And if people love it, you’re amazing, and if not you’re, well… Worthless.
Daring Greatly goes on to explain that shame will prevent us from releasing our art or bring us to remove the most innovating parts to avoid major risks (Albert Einstein fell for it too when he changed his theory of relativity to fit with the current times). And if we do release our work and receive criticism it’s shame telling us that we shouldn’t have tried in the first place.
And I loved, loved, loved what Brene Brown tells us after.
If you attach your self esteem to what people think AND the people love it, you’re in even deeper trouble. You’ll feel great in the short term and won’t realize you willingly and happily opened the doors to shame to hijack your life.
When you master strong shame resilience skills the scenario is totally different. You still want people to like what you’ve created, but your self worth is not on the line. You know that you are far more than your products. The poor reviews are about your specific effort and not about who you are.
The Shame concept in Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is the same as Seth Godin’s concept of the Lizard Brain in Linchpin. Basically, the irrational part of our brain wants to avoid anything which will expose us to the world to keep us safe.
A Tight Rope
People’s judgement is a tight rope. We need to care about what people think or else we lose our capacity for connection. And at the same time we can’t be defined by what people think or we won’t be able to be vulnerable. Thus learning to discern useful feedback to implement and smearing attacks to discard is an important skill.
Shame VS Guilt & Self Talk
This part is key.
Brene Brown says that how we experience the different emotions comes down to self-talk. The way we talk to ourselves determines how we feel and how vulnerable we can be.
Guilt is “I did something bad”. Shame is “I am bad”.
When we experience guilt, we own up to our mistakes and we are more likely to change for the better. When we experience shame instead we shift blame. And it makes us feel like we aren’t able to change.
Note here: this is very similar to a Growth Mindset VS Fixed Mindset. When we believe we can change, we own up to mistakes, accept feedback and improve. When we believe “this is who we are” and our traits are fixed, then we protect our ego.
Brene Brown defines shame resilience as the ability to stay authentic and stick to our values when experiencing shame. And to come out of the shame experience with more courage, compassion and connection than we had before.
The final step is then to move from shame to empathy, which is the real antidote to shame.
Brene Brown says indeed that shame is a social emotion, and it needs social healing. To overcome it we need to share the story with someone who can listen with empathy.
Self compassion also plays a major role because it allows us to seek out connection in the first place.
Here are the four steps to combating shame:
- Recognizing Shame and Understanding Its Triggers. Lean to recognize when you’re experience shame and what triggered it.
- Critical Awareness. Check that what’s driving shame against what you choose to be and act
- Reaching Out. Talk to people who will give you empathy
- Speaking Shame. Talk about how you feel and ask for what you need
- Own Your Story. Brene doesn’t list it, but she stresses you can’t “try to forget” shame. Owning it is key to a feeling of worthiness
We need to work on our shame resilience, because while shame is innate in the limbic system, resilience is a conscious process.
How Brene Brown does it
Here’s an example Brene gave us:
When the same attack started she repeated aloud “pain, pain, pain”. It works because it gets her out of the limbic system and into the pre-frontal cortex. She then took a deep breath, told herself it’s a shame attack and that she can handle it.
Never bury the story, don’t try to hide it, she warns us!
She also repeated to herself loudly “If you own this story you get to write the ending”.
And it’s key that while we normally are extremely mean when we talk to ourselves, we must do so in a compassionate way. For example: not “you’re such an idiot” but “you made a mistake”.
And she then called husband and best friend to share the story. The husband and her friend listened and empathized. And then they also shared similar stories.
And shame disappeared as Brene realized what she had just experienced was human and normal and that she wasn’t alone.
Importantly, Brene Brown says that sharing deeply shaming and traumatic experiences is even more important.
Connection, Love and Belonging
Love and belonging are the two most powerful connectors we have.
And people with with a strong sense of love and belonging have one thing only in common: feeling of worthiness. If you want to experience love and belonging, you have to feel like you are worthy of love and belonging.
Connection: We usually feel connected when we feel heard and valued and when we can give and receive without judgement.
Belonging: We feel like we belong when we feel we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Brene says we often try to belong by fitting in and seeking approval. But that’s wrong because true belonging only happens when we present our real selves. Thus, our sense of belonging can only be equal to our self acceptance.
Love: I found it extremely powerful when Brene Brown say that self-love is a prerequisite for loving others. She says you can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame in Men and Women
The primary shame trigger for women is how they look.
But also being nice, modest, caring for children, taking care of her looks, stay sexually faithful and invest in their relationship.
Basically, says Brene, women should stay small, sweet and quiet and use their time to look pretty.
For men shame is about failure and being weak.
It’s being “defective”, being seen as soft, showing fear, being criticized or ridiculed. In the end, says Brene, all boils down to “don’t be weak”.
There’s an incredible paragraph in which Brene Brown realizes that women themselves are, in her words, the “patriarchy”. It means that women don’t actually want to see men weak and vulnerable, and men know it. And that’s what puts pressure on men to be “masculine”.
Masculinity is identified, I quote, with: winning, emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, playboy, self-reliance, primacy of work, power over women, disdain for homosexuality, and pursuit of status.
I love the example of Brene Brown of a man practicing shame resilience in the face of having to lay off staff. He says “while shame would want me to feel bad about being emotional, I don’t buy into it. I have worked with these people for years, know them well and I am allowed to care about them”.
Chapter 4: The vulnerability armors
In Chapter 4 of Daring Greatly Brene talks about how we try to avoid and protect ourselves from vulnerability.
Most of us use the same techniques, which are:
It feels safer to wallow in a sad or grey state rather than being happy and risking sad. While disappointment might be more disappointing if you were happy, it’s not a good strategy because you give up all the joy in your life just to make your downs a liiittle less down.
Gratitude for our joyful events and our daily happy moments is the antidote for Foreboding Joy.
we use perfectionism as a shield when we -mistakenly- believe that if we can just be perfect we will avoid the painful feeling of shame. If we are perfect, the thinking goes, then we can’t be criticized and we’ll only get love and great feedback. But we’ll never be perfect, and if we wait we might sacrifice relationships and opportunities that might never come back.
Self Compassion and a sense of worthiness no matter what are the antidote.
We numb ourselves in many ways and not just with drug addiction. With a wine before going to sleep, by being too busy to think, with prescription pills, with fantasy football too. Numbing tend to be driven by anxiety, disconnection and shame. Brene says she took up smoking and drinking in her teens to look busy. Today many do so with their cellphones.
The antidote to numbing is: learn to get in touch with your feelings, stay mindful about your numbing behavior and learn to deal with the discomfort of hard emotions. And to reduce anxiety learn to say no: we have to believe we are enough to say “no”.
Viking or Victim (or win or lose):
It’s dividing people in winners and losers. It’s a combative way of engaging with the world and Brene says it might be a useful mentality when in a battle for life or death, but it’s not a mentality leading to a successful life by most people’s standards.
Sharing too much too soon in a desperate attempt to connect. This behavior never leads to connection. Brene says that most people using floodlighting then use the subsequent disconnection to tell themselves they’ll never find true connection and are not good enough for a relationship.
Brene suggests to only shares stories you already worked through and not to share “intimate” stories or fresh wounds.
Smash and grab:
Similar to floodlighting but more underpinned by attention seeking.
It’s expanding a huge amount of effort to dodging vulnerability when it would take much less to just face it. You serpentine when you have to make a call but postpone for made up reasons. Or when you need to send an email but leave your draft sitting for days. Serpentining is draining and not a healthy way of living life.
When Brene finds herself serpetining she laughs, breaths and reality-check her behavior to start engaging with vulnerability. Seth Godin recommends to use the fear response as the trigger to run towards the fear.
Cynicism, Criticism, Cool, Cruelty:
People daring greatly make us sometimes feel bad for not being vulnerable ourselves. We then use cynicism, criticism, cool and cruelty to put them down. Being cool is the attitude of “whatever”, “who gives a s***” and labeling people as losers or lame.
I love it when Brene Brown explains that shield is also attacking people for their “conformity”. Dismissing people for example for selling out or for “a life in a cubicle”.
Criticizing is born out of a fear of not counting, and it’s an attempt to be heard.
I absolutely loved Brene’s tip on resisting the urge of using shaming criticism, which is: take responsibility for what you say. Dare Greatly and sign all your comments. If you don’t feel comfortable to own a comment, then don’t say and deal with your issues (similar to not doing any job you wouldn’t sign on at the of the day).
Chapter 5: closing the disengagement divide
Brene Brown believes that dismantlement underpins most of the problem she sees in families, communities and businesses. We disengage for two reasons: to protect ourselves and because we feel the people who are supposed to be leading us and showing the way are not living up to the social contract. Such as: they don’t live up to the preach.
Brene Brown calls the “disengagement divide” the space between our practiced values -what we actually do- and our aspirational values -what we want to do-.
The social contract for Brene Brown means aligning our values with our actions.
Chapter 6: Disruptive engagement
Daring Greatly analyzes the way shames permeates our culture in schools and organizations. She says people in leadership roles bully, critizes and set up rewards systems that belittle, shame and humiliates employees.
Recognizing a Culture
We can tell a lot about how vulnerable a culture is by looking at how often people say things like “I don’t know”, “I disagere, can we talk about it?”, “here’s how I feel”, “can I get your take on this?”, “I accept responsibility for that”, “I’m here for you”, “I want to help”, “I’m sorry”, “that means a lot to me”, “thank you” .
Brene Brown gives a strikingly beautiful example of a feedback she received on a paper of hers.
Brene’s professor got up from her chair and went around the desk to sit next to her. She put her paper down and said how happy she was that Brene had come in to talk about it. Brene had done a great job, the professor said, and she loved the conclusion. She patted her on the back. Brene said she had worked reallly hard on it, and the professor confirmed that she could tell.
Then she said where she took some points off, adding that she could submit her paper for publication and she didn’t want the formatting to hold her back. Then she asked her if she needed help with the formatting because it’s tricky and it had taken her years to learn.
The professor agreed to review her paper again after the fixes and gave Brene a few tips.
Brene left grateful for her grade and for the teacher.
Chapter 7: Wholehearted parenting
Our sense of love, belonging and worthiness are shaped by the family we grew up in, but as a tear-jerking letter in Daring Greatly shows, it’s never too late to learn.
Brene says that the best way to teach our children is to be and to show: how we behave and how we engage with the world are much better predictors of how our children will do than all we know or all the books we’ve read about parenting.
How You Can Apply It
The marble jar
Most of us have a had a tendency of being all or nothing at all. Use the marble jar instead. A mistake from a friend of yours doesn’t mean he’s not a friend anymore. It’s just one point less.
Wake Up Happy
Daringly Great didn’t mean to use it as a suggestion, but reading of waking up with the scarcity thought of “I didn’t get enough sleep” really changed my life for the better. It was exactly an issue of mine for such a long time.
If you’re in the same position and wake up without the canonical 8-9h of sleep do so:
1. Try to sleep again for 5 minutes;
2. If you don’t sleep, smile and think of what you’re greateful for and all the amazing things you can do today;
3. : Start doing the toughest thing you were supposed to do. Now you only got the easier parts left/
Stop Using armors
Accept You’re Enough
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: CONS
I Me Mine?
Daring Greatly feels a bit too much like a diary at times. It’s as if you’d like to tell Brene “it’s not all about you”, not everyone’s thinking about you.
Inside jokes and stories
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown spends a lot o time on inside references. Lots of stories about her family and husband and even her shrink’s conversations.
Disorganized and Repetitive
I tried to organize everything in chronological order, but Daring Greatly by Brene Brown presents no such linear structure. It often repeats the same concept in a thousand different ways in different chapters. It helps flashing out the concept, but I’d have appreciated a more structured approach.
Shame for Men and Women
I find it misguided when Brene Brown attacks society as for “shaming” men and women into acting “mannish” and “feminine”. There are some innate drives in acting feminine and masculine and it’s not all on society. And, most importantly, there are some rewards for you in acting masculine and feminine (read more in the review).
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: Review
What I didn’t like
You need caring support. You.. Need it?
Daring Greatly says that “no, you can’t go it alone” and that you “need” support from people that “will love you no matter what”. It sounds like self help Pollyanna literature.
I believe that if you build your ego right you don’t need external support. External support is great and very welcome. You should make friends. You should build a inner circle who cares for you and whom you care for. But because you can and because you want. Now your friendships are powerful: because you want them and because they’re mutually helpful. Not because you need.
People who love you no matter what?I
You shouldn’t think that way. Your mamma will love you no matte what. Not sure you’ll find anyone else who’ll love you no matter what. But they’ll love you as long as you love them and care about them. And they’ll love you even more if you’re an amazing person.
So love first and be amazing, don’t expect people will cheer you up “no matter what”, that’s entitlement BS.
Shame in Men and Women: The Theory
Daring Greatly sounds like the all too common “society is at fault” complaint when discussing of shame in men and women.
Is it fair that society expects men to be strong, and women to be pretty and quiet? I don’t know, but that’s the whole point: I don’t think much in terms of “fair” or ” unfair”. I think in terms of how things are.
So the question is: will you have certain benefits as a man when perceived as strong? Yes. And will you have certain benefits as a feminine woman? Tes. It’s not easy in today’s society being a working woman and still retain feminine qualities. But I think it’s more fruitful to see it as your challenge to figure out a way than to rail against society.
Brene herself says that men know women don’t wanna see them acting vulnerable and weak. It’s funny she reaches that conclusion for men and yet still complains about the other side of the equation.
What I warn you about
Feelings And Using Feeling
Daring Greatly talks a lot about the courage of abandoning yourself to feelings. True, but don’t use that as an excuse to stay sad or angry when that doesn’t benefit you. It’s not brave to being hurt or sad all the times. It’s not brave to lash out. You’re open to feelings, you enjoy the feelings, you even lose yourself in the moment of feelings. But you control the feelings.
Vulnerability and Achievement
I believe many of us are afraid of setting goals because of the fear of missing those goals. Thus, albeit Brene Brown does not mention so in Daring Greatly, I’d like to add that the courage of setting high standards for yourself is also part of vulnerability.
Shame in Men and Women: The Practice
Brene says that embodying all the masculine traits makes you lonely. I say that’s preposterous. Only if you take all of them to the extremes you’ll be lonely. While you should discard for example “disdain for homosexuality” as a masculine trait you do want emotional control and self-reliance.
I believe it’s possible to be vulnerable and strong for men. By admitting your shortcoming with a growth mindset and a mindset of working around the obstacles you are vulnerable and strong. The Power Moves is all about being strong and vulnerable at the same time.
And it’s the same for women: it’s possible being highly accomplished in business, strong and still be feminine (I know one such example personally).
What I loved
Basically, all the rest. The concepts in Daring Greatly will make you a better human being.
Here are a few key ones
Daring Greatly and vulnerability opened a new doors for me. I do (did?) have a tendency to keep fears and pain for myself and “trying” to appear better than I am (less and less thanks goodness). Vulnerability helped shift that paradigm for me.
Engaging in the arena is courage in itself
What an amazing concept, amazing concept.
Go for it, go for whatever you love. And love yourself for going for it because showing up is courage in itself.
It’s not the critics in the stands who count
I can’t count the times I repeat this sentence or a variation thereof to myself. Make it yours and it will improve your life.
Be the person you want your children to be
It’s not what you say, not your results and not what you know. It’s who you are (and who you’re becoming). What a beautiful concept.
Don’t tie your ego to the results
I love that Rene tells us not to tie your ego to results.
I’d add: become enamored of the process, not so much of the results.
Ego and Validation
I love Daring Greatly for saying you shouldn’t tie your self esteem to people’s feedback especially when that feedback is positive.
Don’t be one of those people whose happiness is proportional to their number of likes, but get an anti fragile ego.