Daring Greatly Book Study: Chapter 4

Image taken from Etsy @BubbaPicklesMarket

Image taken from Etsy @BubbaPicklesMarket

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I really connected to this chapter on the ways we attempt to protect ourselves from vulnerability.  Brene identifies three forms of shielding that she found most commonly in her research.  They are:

  1. Foreboding Joy- the sense that something terrible must be about to happen when we experience something that brings us joy, as experiencing joy can be incredibly vulnerable.
  2. Perfectionism- the belief that if we do things perfectly and look perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame.  It is about trying to earn approval, and is correlated with depression, anxiety, and addiction.
  3. Numbing- the intense desire to escape from the experiences of shame, anxiety and disconnection with distractions (including food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, busy-ness, etc).

Her Daring Greatly Strategies for transforming these shielding tendencies are:

  1. Practicing Gratitude- this involves actually having a practice, not just an ‘attitude of gratitude’ (barf.)

    If the opposite of scarcity is enough, then practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and that we’re enough.

  2. Appreciating the Beauty of Cracks- can we accept our imperfections and talk to ourselves the way we would talk to a good friend?  Can we be kind to ourselves and allow room for imperfections, while still saying to ourselves, “I am enough.”?

    Perfection is the enemy of done. Good enough is really effin’ good.

  3. Setting Boundaries, Finding True Comfort, and Cultivating Spirit- staying mindful of what we can and cannot do, “leaning into” the difficult emotions, and recognizing our worth. 

    It’s not what you; it’s why you do it that makes the difference.


I love these practices.  They are so life-giving and freeing!

A note on oversharing:  I found Brene’s insight on oversharing as a means to protect from vulnerability super enlightening.  As someone who values transparency and authenticity, I appreciated her words about the importance of “being mindful of what, why, and how we share” as to not use our stories as a way of meeting an unmet need.   For me, this applies in both a therapeutic setting and my personal life.  What an important reminder about the importance of having those one or two relationships where we can process our experiences to gain clarity and resilience.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Do you have a gratitude practice?  A journal, gratitude jar, photos, other ritual?
  2. How do you allow yourself space for imperfection?  Do you have mantras that help?
  3. How do you practice healthy boundaries?  Do you allow yourself to feel your feelings?  How does it impact your life and relationships?


4 Responses to “Daring Greatly Book Study: Chapter 4”

  1. Brandie April 28, 2013 6:31 pm #

    1. I don’t keep a journal for gratitude, but regularly use Instagram and Facebook as a way to capture moments that I appreciate. I also do my best to share it verbally in the moment with those I’m with.

    2. I have found that Brene’s “I am enough.” has been super helpful. I’ve noticed that when I give myself more space for imperfection, I also give those around me that same grace. The other day, Mark was experiencing a challenge with work and just saying those words, “You are enough” to him was enough to remind him to shift out of the striving-for-perfection mode and relieved a ton of anxiety in the moment.

    3. I am allowing myself more and more to feel the uncomfortable feelings like anger and sadness. I recently saw this suggestion and thought it was profound: A woman shared that while she was experiencing sadness or anger or something difficult, she would place her hand on her chest and say to herself, “This is a moment of human suffering. Suffering is part of the human experience. May I be kind to myself in this moment.” So helpful!

    • Morgan April 28, 2013 6:36 pm #

      Ha! I didn’t read your answers before I wrote mine. Our number two looks pretty similar!

  2. Morgan April 28, 2013 6:35 pm #

    Yo, Brandie (and other Brene peeps)! Thanks again, Brandie, for putting this together.

    1. Gratitude practice: I go for runs, and on the way back I walk and think of things for which I’m grateful. My pastor here also said something the other day about taking “divine moments” when we notice the cherry blossoms or that we’re alone in a normally crowded coffee shop, etc. and sending up praise.
    2. I struggle with trying to manage others’ perceptions of me quite a bit. Brene gives me a great mantra for this: I am worthy of love and belonging now…not when I become ______ enough. I’m curious to see what the rest of yous say about this b/c perfectionism is something I struggle with quite a bit. I know that the extent to which I extend compassion to myself is also the extent to which I can extend to others, and I want to be a compassionate person.
    3. Maintaining boundaries is a dance for me. Sometimes I come down on people too hard, and sometimes I allow people to treat me badly without addressing it. I am ALL feelings, so for me, it’s about processing things out with my trusted folks to gain extra insight and not assuming my feelings are facts.

  3. Ellie May 14, 2013 7:42 pm #

    I really love this chapter! It is so PACKED with rich information that I find it takes me quite awhile to get through. I have read this book about three times now and each time I am so struck by what she says that I have to put down the book and process it for awhile. Each time I am more open with myself and find even richer meaning to what she says.
    1. I do have a gratitude practice. I would like to work on developing it even more, though. At the moment it is just a note page on my iphone called, “Gratitude”. Once in awhile I will list one or a few things that I am grateful for. They usually revolve around people and the loving connections that I treasure so much. I really like to read over it sometimes and reflect on the abundance that I have. In light of Brene’s research on foreboding joy and gratitude, I am going to explore ways to broaden my practice, however. Foreboding joy is a big one for me. Not really a day goes by that I do not imagine how easily and quickly what I love could be taken away. Security is an issue for me. I often feel like I am going to lose my job or lose all my money and be broke on the streets. I would like to practice gratitude rather than have those foreboding feelings and fear.
    2. Perfectionism is another big one for me. I do not have mantras but I like some of the ones that she mentions. I have recently started some awareness practices in addition to my meditations and prayers and I think that these help me in my struggle with perfectionism. I like, “I am enough”. I also like the idea of placing my hand on my heart and saying, “This is a moment of human suffering. Suffering is part of the human experience. May I be kind to myself in this moment.” So powerful!
    3. Healthy boundaries usually work pretty well for me. I do find myself with an over-busy schedule quite a lot, however, and it is difficult for me to pick what I need to let go of and what is nourishing to me. I have a lot going on right now and a tendency to “over-do”. I am getting much better about time for my feelings and allowing myself to sit and feel them. I still talk myself out of them from time to time.

    Thank you for this space and for this place to share!

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