Crushing on Brene Brown

I first read Brene Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection” nearly two years ago after watching her landmark TED talk. Both the talk and the book affected me in ways that no other work had before. Her research and message has changed me as a person and as a clinician. I actually wrote a bit about this in another blog post over a year ago. In the past couple of years Brene Brown has become a pretty big deal- first with TED and now OPRAH. It just doesn’t get much bigger than Oprah. (I have my own mixed feelings on Oprah but that is perhaps for another blog post at another time.) But I love love love this exchange between Oprah and Brene. It’s only a few minutes long so check it out.

So I have two primary motivators for gushing about Brene Brown.

1. On October 20, Brene is starting this super cool 6 week ecourse. It looks like a blend of her book plus art therapy. It’s only $70 plus the cost of materials. You can read more about it here

“In this 6-week art journal eCourse students will roll up their sleeves for hands-on, interactive art explorations that will help you move from who you think you’re supposed to be…and embrace who you ARE.”

2. I wanted to introduce you guys to Brene’s work if you weren’t aware of it already. She’s written a couple of books but her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” is a fantastic place to start. In it, she introduces 10 guideposts that emerged from her research on shame and vulnerability. Turns out that the people who live “wholeheartedly” cultivate these gifts.

#1 Authenticity

#2 Self-Compassion

#3 Resilient Spirit

#4 Gratitude and Joy

#5 Intuition and Trusting Faith

#6 Creativity

#7 Play and Rest

#8 Calm and Stillness

#9 Meaningful Work

#10 Laughter, Song, and Dance

Perhaps this book resonated for me so much because these are the essential ingredients I see in my work that help to facilitate health and healing. Over the past several years I have come to scorn the “self-improvement” and always striving for perfection type of messaging. I have come to embrace the Buddhist principles of self-acceptance and self-compassion. I have learned that all we need “to be” is right inside of us. And that what we need most is to connect to what is already there. And Brene’s research and writing beautifully illustrates how it is possible.

To finish up this blog post, I’d like to share a quote from “The Gifts of Imperfection” from her chapter on authenticity. 

“If you’re like me, practicing authenticity can feel like a daunting choice- there’s risk involved in putting your true self out in to the world…I think we should be born with a warning label similar to the ones that come on cigarette packages: Caution: If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief. Sacrificing who we are for the sake of what other people think just isn’t worth it. Yes, there can be authenticity growing pains for the people around us, but in the end, being true to ourselves is the best gift we can give the people we love.”

Thanks Brene, I think so too.