Ten Guideposts for Wholehearted Living: One Through Five
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Dr. Brené Brown, who researches shame, vulnerability, and worthiness, explored what she has termed “wholehearted living,” and provides ten guideposts for applying it in daily life. Firstly, it is important to understand what that means. She defines being wholehearted as “engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness,” “cultivating courage, compassion, and connection,” and being “worthy of love and belonging regardless of “enough”ness, imperfections, productivity, or process.” These are the first five guideposts to begin the journey toward wholehearted living.
Dr. Brown defines authenticity as “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” It’s about being real, speaking honestly, and allowing others to really see you. It is a choice we have to make over and over again to be vulnerable in different situations. This takes courage because it can sometimes result in getting hurt when others don’t respond with empathy. When we seek acceptance or approval, it can lead to shame when it is not received. When we’re being authentic, however, we still know that we are okay.
According to Dr. Brown, perfectionism is “a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgement, and blame.” No one is perfect, and we cannot control what others think, and thus this pursuit is ultimately futile. Treating ourselves with honest, nonjudgmental self-compassion will help alleviate those negative perfectionist thoughts. Self-compassion can be gained through kind self-talk, an awareness of everyone’s common humanity, and mindfulness.
Everyone tries to numb feelings of vulnerability, discomfort, and pain in different ways. You cannot numb selectively though, and numbing the “bad” feelings will also numb the good. Resiliency can be achieved by letting go of the numbing behaviours (drinking, eating, surfing the internet, etc.) and instead cultivating hope and gaining critical awareness. Brown says that “hope is not an emotion; it is a way of thinking and can be learned by making goals and believing in oneself”. Awareness requires that we reality-check messages and expectations from others or the media.
Happiness is not synonymous with joy. Happiness is an emotion that results from a circumstance, whereas joyfulness is a spiritual way of engaging with the world. Of the people involved in Dr. Brown’s research, each of them attributed joyfulness to practicing gratitude intentionally through journaling, meditation, art, speech, and more. Lynne Twist, an author and consultant, writes about choosing a mindset of sufficiency instead of scarcity and never enough-ness, and she also reminds us that things do not have to be extraordinary to be worthy of joy.
Dr. Brown defines intuition as “our ability to hold space for uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed knowledge and insight, including instinct, experience, faith, and reason.” When faced with a decision, we often want assurance from others. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable to decide, so we jump into something too quickly to avoid the process. A “gut” feeling is created by our brain’s rapid fire associations and observations, and this intuition can be developed and tuned into when we take the time to be still and mindful. This results in the ability to make educated, thoughtful decisions for ourselves.
<a href=”http://www.brenebrown.com/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://brenebrown.com/s/wholeheartedbadge.jpg” /></a>
Here are the first 5 guideposts, I hope you’ll come back soon for the next guideposts six through ten.
Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has 5 clinicians on staff who are fully certified and have years of experience in treating and providing counselling services to clients who may be struggling with feelings or worthiness or happiness in their lives. Our clinicians can offer support and help for those wishing to live and experience the world based on whole hearted teaching’s of Dr. Brown or change their thought and behavioural patterns to achieve a more fulfilling life.
Contact us today to find out how our counselling services may be of benefit to you, or if you would like more information about any of our workshops such as “I Am Enough” which addresses worthiness and self-esteem.
Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has two locations in the Okanagan for your convenience- downtown Kelowna, and West Kelowna.
This blog post was written by:
Nicole Ripley, BA Psyc, M.Couns
Registered Clinical Counsellor (#10535)
Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services
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