Sometimes you want to say “Duh” and move on; more rarely, you want to upload the knowledge into your heart and apply it in your life.
Why? The subtitle pretty much sums it up for me: “Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.” If that sounds like just more self-help bullshit, well, it’s not. It’s a philosophy of living that can make life richer and easier for all of us.
The basic idea: We spend most of our lives trying to be someone else, someone better, cooler, smarter, thinner; someone other than our imperfect selves. In the drive to avoid shame, embarassment and hurt, we give up authenticity, connection, and joy.
Or at least I do.
Unfortunately, the alternative is hard, really hard: to believe we are worthy, to be kind to ourselves, to risk being vulnerable. It may not sound like much but in Brown’s words:
Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You’re going to confuse, piss off, and terrify lots of people – including yourself. One minute you’ll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends. You’ll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time. At least that’s how I feel most of the time…brave, afraid, and very, very alive.
In her next book, Daring Greatly, Brown offers a mantra I intend to use for myself: “I am enough… I’ve had enough…Showing up, taking risks, and letting myself be seen is enough.” (It reminds me of an epiphany I had in therapy 30 years ago, when my shrink suggested there might be such a thing as “Mr. Right Enough.”)