Ms. Oprah interviewed the incredible Dr. Brené Brown a few years ago about her book, Rising Strong. I first encountered Brené’s genius wisdom a couple of years ago after she delivered one of my favourite TED Talks of all time on The Power of Vulnerability. I have since been hooked on her thoughts.
In her conversation with Oprah, she shares some of her recent explorations on how to rise strong. I’ve put together some of my “ahas” from listening to this provoking chat.
We will never be able to be free from suffering until we are all free from suffering because we are all intrinsically connected. No matter where the suffering is taking place it affects me too and pretending that what’s happening on the other side of the world does not affect me is simply fooling myself.
“We’ve all fallen and we have the skinned knees and bruised hearts to prove it. But scars are much easier to talk about, that they are to show. And rarely do we see wounds that are in the process of healing.” – Brené Brown
This to me is one of the truest and most beautiful thing I have ever read my entire life. I have always wondered this very thing; why is it that we only share our stories after we’ve arrived at the destination? And for those brave ones who chose to share their story during the hurt, why do we look at them and think “I don’t want to be them.”?
We are all looking for a wholehearted life. In Brown’s words, “I’m imperfect, I’m vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m also brave and worthy of love and belonging and joy.” Being vulnerable or imperfect on the surface is often viewed as the antithesis of strength and beauty – yet it isn’t.
In recent years, I’ve become more and more curious about my emotions and the cause of my decision making on an everyday basis. Brown reminds me that when we are down, the stories we tell ourselves about why we are there are dangerous lies. She offers 3 steps to rising strong:
When something happens, you must first acknowledge this discomfort and not just sweep it under a rug. Why are you triggered? Once you have, be curious about why you are feeling this way. People naturally are not curious about emotion because we never really get taught about sitting and exploring our emotions. Not acknowledging your emotions when triggered will manifest in other ways without you even realizing it, like taking it out on someone else, binge eating or punching someone.
The next phase is to truly get honest with the stories we tell ourselves and take responsibility for your actions. Brené calls those stories we run to whenever something unpleasant happens the SFD or Sh***y First Draft. Every good writer has an SFD, so does every story we tell ourselves.
“What do you call a story that has limited factual data points that you fill in with your ideas and beliefs? A conspiracy.” – Brené Brown
Take these conspiracies and confabulations (a lie told honestly), find out what really is going on. What do you know for sure vs what you think you know? The reason for this is often you will find that the story you tell yourself is actually a lie rooted in fear, hurt…
During the rumble we must ask ourselves what more do I need to learn and understand about 1. the situation 2. people 3. myself in this story.
When this process becomes practice, it is now a revolution. The most dangerous stories we tell ourselves actually end up shaping who we are. We naturally make up stories for survival but what our brain does not take into account when engineering these stories is our need for discomfort and vulnerability and real relationships – in other words our humanity. When you are willing to be the most uncomfortable you WILL rise strong. Leaning into discomfort can revolutionize the way you live, lead and love.
On that note, today and tomorrow, let’s all try to lean into emotional discomfort a little more. Be sure to pick up her book Rising Strong to fully get into it.
live + love,