Dear Exceptional You,
Learning that there are misconceptions within our perceptions is a fascinating subject to think about. What do you think about yourself? Did you grow up with people telling you how special you were? Did anyone belittle you and give you the impression you were worthless? Our perceptions define who we are. Perceptions come from the birth and continue throughout life. What do you tell yourself about you? Do you believe you are exceptional? Do you believe something else?
Some perceptions become myths. In my case, I’m trying to work through the misconceptions within my perceptions. They are keeping me from becoming the healthier person I want to be.
Do you suffer from your own misconceptions within your perceptions?
Throughout my life, chronic anxiety, depression, grief and physical illnesses attached themselves to me like burrs from a field. One would think at the age of 62 I would have figured all this stuff out. I haven’t. I’m tired. My feet are disappearing in neuropathy.
I don’t want to give in to the brambles and briars. I’ve been attending healing classes and listening to Brené Brown hoping to flick each sticky emotion and illness away from me.
In case you don’t know who Brené Brown is, allow me to introduce you. She is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the university’s Graduate College of Social Work. What is great about her in-depth work is how she turns statistics into human qualities we can understand.
Ms. Brown studies vulnerability, courage, empathy, shame, guilt, and spirituality. Besides loving her subject matter, she is witty and eloquent.
I heard Ms. Brown for the first time on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast. She was speaking about how people who practice spirituality have a marked difference in their perceptions and responses to stress. She was sharing material from her book, Rising Strong.
Audible.com had her book. I accidentally purchased a live workshop about her book. I am glad about that. Listening to her at a live conference was relaxing. Plus, I’ve Wbeen giggling and saying, “AHA!” Her words spoke to me.
The key here, especially if you are a person who doesn’t enjoy religion or doctrinal theology, is that Ms. Brown doesn’t talk about the practice of spirituality in religious terms. Rather, she talks people who are intrinsically connected to one another.
This isn’t “sissy” talk. This is for strong men and women who are open to a process of discovery and recovery.
Ms. Brown’s research is scientifically documented and researched. What she has learned is important. No matter who you are, you can benefit, I’m sure!
Here are Ms. Brown’s definitions of important words that bubbled up from her work.
Do these words scare you? Do you find yourself within these words? Are you interested in discovering how we can live authentically with them?
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Shame Vs. Guilt
“I believe that there is a profound difference between shame and guilt. I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort.
I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.
I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.”
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”