Usually the first Tuesday each month is my update post: how the writing’s going, the queries, the journal submissions… Things are pretty much the same in that regard, so instead I want to share some musings I had while reading Brene Brown’s book about vulnerability, “Daring Greatly.” It’s been resonating strongly with me, and in the spirit of what the book advocates (the positives of vulnerability and the courage it takes to express it), I decided to make this post a bit more personal in the hopes that it helps someone.
So first, Brown has this list of qualities that the most wholehearted people have in their lives:
- Cultivating authenticity – letting go of what people think
- Cultivating self-compassion – letting go of perfectionism
- Cultivating a resilient spirit – letting go of powerlessness
- Cultivating gratitude – letting go of scarcity
- Cultivating faith – letting go of the need for certainty
- Cultivating creativity – letting go of comparison
- Cultivating play and rest – letting go of productivity as self-worth
- Cultivating calm – letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
- Cultivating meaningful work – letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
- Cultivating laughter – letting go of being cool and in control
Brown wrote how when she compiled this list, she realized she only had two in her own life at the age of 41, and how devastating that was for her. I struggle with many of these too, and even though 30 is still quite young, I had this bolt of panic that, oh god, what if I’m still struggling for decades to come? In that moment I felt discouraged in myself for not getting to where I want to be already.
Sometimes I feel this pressure to “get over” my struggles and insecurities, and to get over them fast, so I can live the bulk of my life in mental peace. I feel compelled to fix and conquer my troubles. Because I feel like a flawed person if I don’t. A lesser, weaker person if I don’t.
But immediately I realized that very mindset is part of the problem. (See #2.) It’s not about “mastering” the list. It’s not about checking off those qualities and sitting in them comfortably for the rest of your life. It’s about the process. And maybe that process will take your whole life.
And maybe it’s GOOD for that process to be lifelong. Not just inevitable or understandable but actually GOOD. Because maybe the work of that process is important in and of itself. The machinations your soul goes through. The act of growing, becoming.
Someone who beefs up a muscle doesn’t then stop exercising, like “okay cool, got that muscle done, time to sit back forever.” Because muscles atrophy. You have to keep working them. Someone isn’t weak for going to the gym, they’re strong because they go to the gym.
Okay, enough gym metaphors. (“Does your soul even lift, bro?” Haha.) Anyway, Brown’s book is speaking to me right down to my core, as I imagine it would for… well, frankly all of us. Vulnerability is something every human experiences. I highly recommend it. The book, I mean. Although, yeah, I recommend vulnerability too. 🙂
p.s. Oh, and happy July Fourth to my fellow Americans! I’m not super patriotic or anything but I looove fireworks! Gotta have me some sparklebooms ❤