Brené Brown: “The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.”
Brené Brown’s words inspired me to ask myself the uncomfortable, deep questions that I’ve tried to run away from in the past. For most of my life, I’ve denied my own story and disengaged from tough emotions because I didn’t have the courage to face my past or be responsible for my future.
Running away from the problems of my life and seeking instant gratification slowly led to me becoming a jerk and a bitter person who constantly complained about the many instances the world and others wronged me.
The reality was, I could have sought help or read books to overcome the many bad habits I acquired in my dysfunctional childhood. As soon as I was financially stable, I could have gone non-contact with my mom and her maternal relatives. I could have chosen to work on my insecurities instead of pretending they would go away if I denied them long enough.
In 2017, thanks to my dear friend, Catan, I discovered the works of Brené Brown. In the beginning, I didn’t like her much. Her words made me feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t until 2020, after many sessions with my awesome therapist that I started reading Brené Brown again.
Up until a few years ago, I thought buying myself something expensive equated to valuing myself. Currently, I believe valuing myself means I think of myself as a person who deserves to be treated with respect.
With regards to boundaries, I didn’t know I was allowed to have any. My therapist was shocked that I didn’t have any boundaries and told me I must have them. These days I do not allow anyone including myself to scream or yell or tell me I’m stupid or that I will never amount to anything. With those people, I’ve cut complete contact.
Sometimes I can’t even believe I was so naive to let people talk to me that way and think they were genuinely looking out for me. Most of my relatives with the exception of my favorite deceased uncle has regularly called me an idiot for most of my life. My late father after finally reading a parenting book stopped in 2011 and apologized to me one day out of blue for it. My mom stopped in early 2020 after I told her how much her words hurt me (using the words my therapist told me) and also apologized.
This is the power of boundaries. Without my therapist insisting I hug them to death, my relationship with my mom would not be as harmonious as it is today.
For most of my life, I’ve lived in fear. Mainly because I grew up with family and friends who were afraid of the world. Likely because they have been hurt by it in some way that caused them to give up on being brave. Because usually what lived inside most fearful people, was someone who used to be brave.
To practice being brave, I’m consciously making the choice to surround myself with people who are choosing courage over comfort. People who are being proactive and conquering their fears instead of being reactive and accepting whatever comes their way. One of the new friends I’ve made recently is a comedian who has hosted his own podcast since 2008! I’m super inspired by his courage to put himself out there.
Thank you Brené Brown for sharing your work with the world. It has changed and will continue to change my life for the better.