This blog was originally published in April, 2015 but I have updated it to include some new information as well as the link to the episode of the Baltimore Annapolis Psychotherapy Podcast released in September, 2015 related to the Guideposts and an upcoming workshop. You can always find up to date information on events I'm hosting on my website: www.laurareaganlcswc.com.
Welcome to the second post in the blog series on creating a life that feels authentic, using Brené Brown's "Guideposts to Wholehearted Living," which she describes in detail in her book The Gifts of Imperfection (one of my very favorites!), her last bestseller, Daring Greatly and her newest bestseller Rising Strong. This blog was originally published in April, 2015 but I have updated it to include some new information as well as the link to the podcast episode released in September, 2015 on this subject.
If you're interested in going deeper with Brené Brown's work, join me for an intensive weekend in Severna Park where 6 women will use the Daring Way™ to build deep connection so they can show up authentically in relationships and live more wholeheartedly.
I won't pretend that this blog series will achieve the level of detail included in Dr. Brown's books - which I highly recommend you read - but I hope it can serve as an introduction to help you think about how you can move toward a more authentic and wholehearted life. At the end of this post I will tell you about how you can work with me using The Daring Way™, based on the research of Brené Brown, to develop authentic connection with yourself and others.
I often talk about living authentically and wholeheartedly. I aspire to live my life in a way that makes me feel as if my soul purpose and my actions are aligned. That's not an easy task in a world that tells us to look and act a certain way in order to be accepted. Sometimes it feels like there is little space for showing up as our true selves. Of course, I'm a unique individual, just like you are, and what makes us who we are is what's special about us. There is no one else like you or me. So why is it so tempting to hide our true selves so we can fit in?
For me, hiding how I feel inside is a skill I've practiced for 43 years so far (though for the past 10 years I've been working on changing that habit). I got to be good enough at doing it that I didn't even notice when it was happening. In fact, there was a time when I didn't even know how I felt inside. It was all just kind of jumbled up, leaving me with a general sense of malaise that I didn't really understand. How did I perfect the ability to block out my feelings? It helped that I was frequently counseled not to be "so sensitive" as a child, and I picked up our societal message that it's not a good idea to cry in public when I was quite young. Even when the message wasn't directed toward me, I saw the horror and disgust on others' faces when someone would cry in school. I vowed at an early age that would not be me! How sad. Crying is a normal response to feeling sad, mad, confused, scared, or overwhelmed. Or all of the above!
As I continued on the journey of my life. the various disappointments and tragedies I experienced (as we all do, inevitably) caused me pain that I didn't want to feel. Do you like pain? No, neither do I. Even joyful experiences can bring pain. Having children is wonderful, but once you allow your heart to feel that much love, you have so much more to lose if anything were to happen to them! And when something causes them pain and you can't do anything to make it better? Ouch!
Later, as a social worker/counselor in training during college and grad school, I felt it was very important to avoid showing how upsetting the stories of abuse, oppression and injustice were for me because I wanted to prove I was tough (not weak!). While it's true that one must maintain professionalism in the role of a social worker or counselor, there is a time and place for letting those feelings out in supervision, consultation and personal psychotherapy. Pretending something doesn't bother us is not an effective way to avoid feeling the pain. I associated vulnerability (letting my guard down) with weakness. Have you ever felt this way?
So what's the deal? Are some people just simply more authentic than others? Why can some people show the world who they really are, in every situation? And are these people happier than the rest of us? These are some of the questions Brené Brown's research was able to answer and her answers are summarized in the 10 Guideposts. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Dr. Brown defines authenticity as "the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we really are." The Guideposts explain what people who live wholeheartedly do differently from the rest of us.
Brené Brown's Guideposts to Wholehearted Living from the Gifts of Imperfection:
1. Cultivating Authenticity - Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self-Compassion - Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating A Resilient Spirit - Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy - Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith - Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
6. Cultivating Creativity - Letting Go of Comparison
7. Cultivating Play and Rest - Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness - Letting Go of Anxiety As a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work - Letting Go of Self-Doubt and "Supposed To"
10. Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance - Letting Go of Being Cool and "Always In Control"
This blog series will discuss each of the Guideposts in more detail with future posts. As you read the list, what feelings come up for you? Does this resonate? It certainly did with me when I read it for the first time. Do you follow the Guideposts in your life? Do you want to find a way to incorporate them?
I've shared with you some of the challenges which have interfered with living my life as authentically as I'd like, in hopes that you will see that I'm not here to tell you what you "should" do to live wholeheartedly - I'm on this journey too. The Daring Way™ training, which I attended in September 2014, changed me and I want to share it with as many people as possible.
I am a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator and I'm excited to be able to offer this model in individual therapy, with groups and in workshops. I also use the model in Clinical Supervision for Maryland social workers. If you want to dig deeper with this work, click here to find out about the Daring Women Weekend Intensive for a small group of women. Discounts are available for two people who register together. I am offering an introductory 1 Day Workshop and I plan to offer the Rising Strong™ method in the near future. You can also read about the special intensive Couple's Workshop opportunity. And for a more in-depth discussion of perfectionism and the Guideposts
What did you think of this podcast episode? I'd love to hear your comments! You can also rate and review the podcast on iTunes by clicking here. And if you'd like to hear more from me you can sign up for my occasional newsletter! I don’t send them out unless I have something I want you to know, and you can unsubscribe any time you want. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. To listen to my podcast, search the Baltimore Annapolis Psychotherapy Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and (coming soon) Google Play. Or click here to listen via my website.
Laura Reagan, LCSW-C
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