The topic in my blog circle this month is: “The book I am reading right now is teaching me…” I have a slight problem because I am currently in the midst of reading about 4 other books! Now I need to pick one. The contenders are:
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle; The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield; A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin… and the final book, the one I chose to highlight…
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brene Brown.
I am only about halfway through, but HOLY COW, has it had a big impact on my life. It literally has transformed my life in so many areas – just like the title says it will! Let me break it down for ya…
The way I live. I’ve written before about pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying new things (i.e. salsa dancing, applying for art shows). Well, it was this book that started me on that journey. I learned that in order to live, to really live, I have to take risks. I have to put myself in the direct path of feeling vulnerable in order to grow. I’ve learned that if something scares me, makes me feel a wee bit uncomfortable, then that is exactly what I need to do.
The way I love. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of love is the love that I have with my husband. We are going on 11 years of marriage, and he is the one that has really seen me at my most vulnerable… but here’s the thing… there is so much more I need to show. Yes, I have been vulnerable. Yes, I have cried to him. Yes, I know he loves me no matter what. Then why have I held back parts of me that are just as important to be seen? This ties in with the book A New Earth, where letting go of the ego is a vital part to living a happier life. Within marriage, there are plenty of misunderstandings… a look, a gesture, can easily be misinterpreted and taken personally. Through consciously choosing to let go of my ego (after all, everything isn’t always about me), showing my fears, expressing my feelings, encouraging my husband to do the same and honoring him when he does so, we are reaching a new point in our love and creating a stronger, more connected marriage. In fact, our oldest son asked us recently “Why are you all mushy mushy now?” Haha! So even our children have seen the transformation that has happened, and I am hoping that this “mushy mushy” interaction will be what our children will remember when they think of us in the many years to come.
The way I parent. After reading this book for a couple of hours one day, I was not only inspired, but also deeply saddened at the realization that so many people in our society grow up with shame. The personal stories were heart breaking, and it made me resolve to choose my words wisely when speaking with my children. One story in particular was about a man whose wife wanted him to share his feelings more with her, yet when he did so, he was made to feel ashamed at showing such vulnerability. I don’t know if I am doing justice to the story, but the moral to the story is how our culture emphasizes strength, money & success as being the signs of a man, and that showing feelings, crying, expressing fears are signs of weakness. There are more great examples in the book, and they really put it all in perspective when it comes to how what we say as parents has a life-long impact on the way our children view themselves. For my children, I need to remember that it is o.k. to show all aspects of who they are… and I need to allow it. I need to honor it. They do not need to conform to society’s standards. Who knows… if they can grow up without shame, feeling confident in all of the amazing facets of their being, maybe they will form new standards?
The way I lead. The thought of me being a leader is actually quite laughable to me. I view myself as more of a wallflower (albeit a rockstar wallflower!) I believe being a leader comes in many forms though. I was thinking about my deceased grandmother the other day and about how so many people were inspired by her, when in reality, all she did was live her life the way she wanted. Perhaps that is what a leader can be. To lead through example… to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Through working on ourselves, those around us will reap the rewards. I used to hate crying, hate it! I tried to avoid crying in front of others at all cost, but now… who cares?!? If I want to cry, I’ll cry. I think we all need to show our feelings, to show our vulnerability more in public. It’s not a secret that we need to keep behind closed doors. We have become so disconnected from one another that we forget to see the humanness in each person. We are all in this together, and we need to start acting that way.
I can hardly believe what I have already learned from this book, and I still have so much more to go! I can’t recommend this book enough. It is not a light read though, it’s a real thinker. So… when you read it, don’t plan on breezing through the pages. I promise, it is so worth your time!!! I’ll leave you with this amazing parenting manifesto by Brene Brown…
Please continue to add to your reading list by checking out the book Nancy Lennon is writing about.