Becoming Wholehearted [Brené Brown]

posted in: Wholehearted Living | 0

I now have a parallel goal to “The Happiness Project” and that is to become wholehearted.

This new desire arrives on the heels of writing two blog posts—one on vulnerability and the other on authenticity—and listening to the teaching The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown.

While my posts spoke of longing for authenticity and fearing vulnerability, Brené Brown’s teaching opened my eyes—or shall I say my heart—to a whole new world.

Brené Brown

Brené Brown, Ph.D. is a first-class qualitative researcher. Although, in my opinion, her distinct expertize as a scientist is not where her obvious talent lies. She is indeed highly intelligent and capable—no one could dispute these facts. However, her superpower lies in her sharing her research. It does indeed take someone special to deliver the scientific data in a manner which is warm, comprehensive, relatable, and simple.

When Brené presents the conclusions of her inquiries, she makes it accessible to all. She is thorough, funny, and yes, vulnerable and authentic. She embodies the values she shares. These qualities leap across the sound waves to the heart of the listener. Her words indeed made it to mine.

I was spellbound by her narrative from beginning to end.

Brené’s sincerity comes through with every true to life and vivid color example shared.

Setting the Stage

Dr. Brown begins her teaching by setting the scene.

What type of culture do we live in?

Why does it matter?

What is the foundation for leaving wholeheartedly?

Why is vulnerability necessary?

What is the enemy of vulnerability?

What is authenticity? And so on.

Our Culture

For good or bad, we are much influenced by the culture in which we live. Currently, in the United States we live in a culture of scarcity which is defined by three elements:

  1. It is a shame-based culture.
  2. It is a culture seeded in comparisons.
  3. It is fractured by disengagement.

becoming wholehearted

The Research of Becoming Wholehearted

Last month, I lamented my fears at being vulnerable. Transparency is not something I welcome not because I don’t wish to be vulnerable but rather because I don’t care to paint too large a target on my back. It is pain I wish to avoid. As Brené stated it, I armor up.

While listening to “The Power of Authenticity,” I grasped the truth that being vulnerable was not necessarily at the root of my issue. Sadly, it became apparent that shame was my real nemesis.


While listening to the section on shame, I saw myself as clear as day, and this saddened me. No one should feel shame. This discovery was an “a-ha” moment of significant proportion.

Brené states we need to cultivate shame resilience, and I concur. I am still not sure how I plan on tackling this issue. I have contacted a friend who is willing to help me in this endeavor. It is her profession. Moreover, she is very familiar with doctor Brown’s research. She is also excellent at her work which she embraces with passion.

I no longer care to be shackled by shame. It has had me in its stronghold far too long.

The Ten Guideposts of Wholeheartedness

According to Dr. Brown, all wholehearted individuals live by the following two foundational tenets:

  1. Wholehearted individuals have a sense of belonging.
  2. Wholehearted individuals embrace vulnerability.

Beyond these crucial points, Brené also uncovered ten guideposts to wholeheartedness which she encourages us to develop.

Ten Guideposts

  1. Cultivate authenticity; let go of what others think.
  2. Cultivate self-compassion; let go of perfectionism.
  3. Cultivate a resilient spirit; let go of numbing and powerlessness.
  4. Cultivate gratitude and joy; let go of scarcity and the fear of the dark.
  5. Cultivate intuition and trusting faith; let go of the need for certainty.
  6. Cultivate creativity; let go of comparison.
  7. Cultivate play and rest; let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Cultivate calm and stillness; let go of anxiety as a lifestyle.
  9. Cultivate meaningful work; let go of self-doubt and “supposed to.”
  10. Cultivate laughter, song, and dance; let go of being cool and “always in control.”

becoming wholehearted

Becoming Wholehearted:  In Conclusion

I don’t know about you, but I feel compelled to live wholehearted as I consider anything else is a waste of life, my life.

Will you join me?

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