If you haven’t heard of professor, scholar, author, and public speaker Brené Brown, allow me to introduce you through her two most popular videos: The Power of Vulnerability and her follow-up, Listening to Shame.
Over the last ten years she has been involved in research on topics ranging from vulnerability, courage, and authenticity, to empathy and shame. She’s written books such as The Gifts of Imperfection (2010) and Daring Greatly (2012). She and her work have been featured on PBS, NPR, TED, and CNN.
In a nutshell Brené is every hot mess’s wet dream. I’ve seen her videos more times that I can count, and each time (this weekend, being the most recent), I well up at the same moments, where she talks about selectively numbing our pain (not possible to do, without numbing joy), and daring greatly – embracing vulnerability.
If you don’t consider yourself to be, or never have been a hot mess at some point in your life – congratulations – you don’t exist. Every one of us has shit. That thing we don’t talk about, try to wish away, or maybe you’re one of those people who point the finger at everyone else to avoid focusing on your own mess. I’ve been and done all those things.
Sometimes we don’t even create our shit – it’s just there, served up on a shiny platter of Fuck You, and we’re left to clean it up. Most of the times though – we end up buried in How Did I Get Here as a result of our choices. And life being its adorable self tries to teach us lessons along the way, in our ever-evolving journey to Bliss.
I used to think Bliss was only possible through chaos. Getting high felt great. Until the lows nearly killed me. Great sex is always a kick, but damn, if that doesn’t come with its own set of emotional baggage (if you’re anything like me, and gravitated toward lovers who were toxic and selfish).
But there’s another way to free-fall into ourselves with joy. Where smiles don’t need reasoning, laughter is like breathing, and the shadows we nestled within the walls of indifference and forfeit are cast aside. Through merely basking in our light by way of making changes that serve our soul.
It doesn’t come in a bottle and it can’t be snorted up your nose. Our kids, friends, and all our loved ones can fill a temporary fix, but there’s only one way to guarantee our personal happy – and that’s in the realization and acceptance that there are no guarantees.
If you’re stagnant, just spinning your wheels – merely existing – ask yourself why. Are you afraid to make a change? Do you feel unworthy of following your dream? Or are you like me guilty of both, in addition to playing the victim card so well, you started manipulating yourself, without even realizing it. I’m a hot mess, the fuck-up in the family, of course my life is shit!
One of my favorite lines ever spoken to me from my therapist (or anyone), was in reply to something I said. I don’t remember my exact words, but it was about explaining a future (horrible) personal choice I debated making, and how I’d be OK with the inevitable (shitty) results.
“I’m not gonna co-sign on your bullshit.”
Aaaaand scene. My reaction to her calling me out on my own web of self-denial was nothing short of hysterical. We both shared a huge laugh, and in that very moment I realized something: I don’t have to buy my own lies. I have more control than I think.
And so do you.
Life will go on with or without you living the one you that serves your bliss. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you were in it?
There’s no question, any time we make a change, face our fear by rolling up our sleeves and trudging through the shit – the growing pains emerge. But if we give purpose to our pain, we can fully evolve into the person we always knew we were born to be. The word here, is GROWING.