Daring Greatly Book Study: Chapter 2


photo by Liz Garcia

photo by Liz Garcia

*This photo is taken from a blog post from Brene Brown.  I love this idea.  Anyone feel inspired to share a picture of their own version?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Brene Brown takes us deeper into the concept of vulnerability in Chapter 2- specifically, the myths that surround this profound emotion.

On page 41, she writes about how we love seeing other people be open and vulnerable, but we often talk ourselves out of going there personally.  She identifies the “crux of the struggle” as:

I want to experience your vulnerability but I don’t want to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me.

I’m drawn to your vulnerability but repelled by mine (p. 42).

It’s the fear of the critic that keeps us hidden and unwilling to risk showing up and being seen.  When Mark and I recently went with two other couples to see Brene Brown speak locally in Houston on “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting,” she shared some of the online comments that had come from critical, anonymous online voices.  They were hurtful and dark- like her worst thoughts about herself manifest.  She defiantly and powerfully spoke her truth about her realization about this reality of putting herself “in the arena” on a regular basis, saying that, “unless you’re getting your ass kicked on a regular basis in the arena, I don’t want to hear your feedback.”

I love that.  I felt inspired by her speaking her truth in this way.   And it wasn’t in a, “ya, go get ‘em!” kindof way.  I felt like she was speaking for all of us who are putting ourselves out there and risking vulnerability.

So, I guess I’m wondering, am I “in the arena” in my life?  How will I know?  A friend recently shared that he woke up in the night with the voice of God clearly telling him to “swing for the effing fences.”  I asked him what that meant to him, and he said to, “stop trying to live life and just live it!”   Get in the arena!

My one discussion question today is the same one Brene Brown asked herself:

“What’s worth doing even if I fail?”


Next week is Chapter 3: Understanding and Combating Shame.  Combating Shame??  Yes please!

8 Responses to “Daring Greatly Book Study: Chapter 2”

  1. Morgan February 25, 2013 8:40 am #

    So, I’m applying for a graduate fellowship this summer, and it feels very scary. The fellowship is something I would really enjoy doing: examining and researching a policy issue that affects Baltimore City Public Schools and, at summer’s end, presenting my findings to the CEO. But, I’m scared.

    I’m scared that I’m not smart enough. I’ve already worked myself into the worst case scenario, and it’s not that I won’t get the fellowship. It’s that I will get the fellowship, and they will see that I don’t belong and ask me to leave.

    Luckily, I’ve been reading Brene for awhile now, and I see this as shame at work, and I’m not buying what it’s selling (long-term). Something she also talks about in The Gifts of Imperfection is that we sometimes downplay to ourselves and others what we want, so it won’t hurt so bad or be so embarrassing if we don’t get it. I’m not going to downplay that I want this fellowship. I think it would be engaging and interesting, and if I don’t get it, I’m going to be bummed.

    So, I’m headed to the arena…application due March 15th!

    • Brandie February 25, 2013 10:14 am #

      Go mama!! I really hear you and can relate to this one. I’m so grateful you’re in this discussion, and I’m excited to see how your willingness to go for it (in light of the shame gremlins) will play out for you. Whatever the outcome is in our lives, when we go for what is really calling us and what is really worth it in our lives, we find our way. xoxoxo

  2. Brandie February 25, 2013 1:24 pm #

    What’s worth doing even if I fail?

    Being a playful, engaged momma, a loving and accepting wife, and dedicating my work to supporting others in being their best selves.

  3. Ellie February 25, 2013 10:19 pm #

    “What’s worth doing even if I fail?”

    I think that this chapter is just so packed with juicy concepts and issues that I could read it forever. I have really been working on living whole-heartedly lately and part of that is just witnessing the shame/same stories I tell myself all the time.

    What is worth doing even if I fail is helping young women learn to love their bodies despite the fact that society tells them pretty much from birth to hate them. I have had this dream since college, since working on recovery from my own eating disorder and self-destructive behaviors. I am getting closer and closer to realizing it by witnessing how I use shame and “un-worthy-ness” to keep me away from it.

    I want to take young women to the land that I grew up in, in the mountains of New Mexico, far away from cell phones, TV, comptuters and anything else and just feel with them. It was in those mountains that God told me that I was worthy and I felt Him for the first time and I would love to share that journey with others in whatever way I can. It is worth doing even if I fail.

  4. Morgan February 26, 2013 10:36 am #

    @Brandie, being an “all in” momma and wife is universe-changing kind of work. What a calling!

    @Ellie, I work with young girls too! I put all-girl book clubs in after school programs. We use the clubs to mentor them through the gritty stuff of life. I absolutely believe God will open paths for you as you pursue the mission you described above and that lives will be changed.

    Thanks for organizing this, Brandie. I love hearing from other seekers.

  5. Cara March 1, 2013 5:38 pm #

    Ugh Ellie, YES! I agree that this chapter is packed with So much. Loving myself is a huge task, and one I am working on being ” all in” with.I guess it is part of my “worth doing even if I fail” journey.

    Personally, being a gentle and attached parent is something I have found worth doing, even if I have my “failure” moments (not failing at motherhood, just not being the gentle mother I am aiming to be.) I experience “BIG” emotions and anger is one of them. Choosing to practice speaking gently to my baby instead of snapping at her when she fusses for hours on end is a struggle. I can totally understand why people shake babies. I’m just throwing that out there. However, recognizing that I have worth outside of my child and that said worth can also mean deserving to take a step back and have a few minutes without my baby is also a struggle. I think maybe that struggle leads to the feelings of anger and resentment when it comes to attachment parenting. Sometimes I just want my body to be my own, without tiny hands and kicking feet. I have to let myself have that want without shaming/blaming myself for it in order to alleviate some of the frustration and anger that makes gentle parenting such a struggle. Again, am I making sense?

    Being “all-in” as a single parent is scary and challenging, but rewarding! I hope.

  6. Cara March 1, 2013 5:46 pm #

    On a slightly different note, in your post you mentioned Brene Brown’s anonymous critics and her self-doubts made real, and that is the same journey I’ve been on since Char’s birth. Having CPS called on you the day your baby is born brings even more shame and self-doubt to the table than I ever thought possible. It was my biggest fear come true. All of my guilt and shame over being a 19 year old woman pregnant by a stranger, my guilt and worries about being a mom with mental illness, the stigma I’ve faced with all of it…I’ve been learning how to sit with and acknowledge my truth, of what a miracle I am and how incredible and Divine this journey has been, so I can stand up in the face of critics. I think. Maybe it’s more to stand up in the face of myself and my shame. Anyway, just me being honest. Vulnerability is the name of the game, right?

    • Brandie March 17, 2013 10:27 pm #

      Cara, I just now read your post. How courageous you are. Vulnerability IS the name of the game, and I see you being brave, honest and real. Did you read Chapter 3 yet? You are becoming real, like the Velveteen Rabbit.

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