Ten Guideposts for Wholehearted Living: 6-10

Ten Guideposts for Wholehearted Living: Six Through Ten

As introduced in the previous post on the first five guideposts, 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 in her book The Gifts of Imperfection. The final five guideposts to continue the journey of “engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness” are as follows.

  1. Cultivating Creativity – Letting go of comparison

Everyone is naturally creative as a child, and some believe that we lose it as we get older. In actuality, some of us are just out of practice because we no longer use our creativity, but it’s still there waiting. Making comparisons, fitting in, and trying to be better than others lead to conformity and competition which stifle our imaginations. Creativity is about creating something unique and original, finding potential and beauty, and connecting. Art comes in many different forms – from drawing to photography to crafts to performing to music to baking to problem solving and on and on. Make time for it intentionally.

  1. Cultivating Play and Rest – Letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth

Dr. Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and researcher, has found that “play” is anything purposeless, fun, and desirable. His work has shown that participating in play fosters empathy, improves navigation within complex social groups, inspires creativity and innovation, and increases job satisfaction. Aside from the benefits, as humans we actually have a biological need for play and rest, and there are diseases and health concerns that arise when this need is not met including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and more. What qualifies as play for each person will be different. Find something that brings you joy and meaning just by doing it.

  1. Cultivating Calm and Stillness – Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle

Dr. Brown defines being calm as “creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity.” It is being aware of a situation without having anxiety around it or falling into the cycle that panic creates. Calmness takes time, breathing, and practice. She has defined stillness as being “not about focusing on nothingness; it’s about creating a clearing. It’s opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question.” Meditation, prayer, reflection, alone time, and walks in nature are just a few ways to foster this. Find what works for you for dealing with anxiety and letting go of glorifying busy-ness.

  1. Cultivating Meaningful Work – Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”

Each and every one of us has various gifts and talents, and it is actually harmful to ourselves not to use them. They are unique, and you get to define yours yourself. Oftentimes the talent may not be your job or generate income, but participating and sharing will breed connectedness with others. Acknowledge the inevitable thoughts of self-doubt and “supposed to,” then challenge them. Do what you want with your gifts anyway. By believing in yourself, knowing you’re enough, and letting go of the world’s expectations, you can be your true self and find work that brings meaning to your life.

  1. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance – Letting go of being cool and “always in control”

Laughter, song, and dance are social actions that foster connection in times of happiness and sadness. The desires to manage what others think and prevent being made fun of cause us to act “cool” and “in control” by limiting or avoiding these activities, but in doing so, we are betraying ourselves. When we laugh with (not at) others, we are agreeing “I get it.” Music moves us emotionally and connects us to those who made it and those who experience it. Dancing is scary for a lot of people because it encompasses full-body vulnerability. Children dance instinctively, but as we get older, often we avoid it out of a fear of judgement. Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy these actions to the fullest.

Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services offers a variety of counselling services including depression counselling, anxiety treatment, substance abuse recovery, online therapy, and more.   We are also offer several workshops that address other pertinent concerns such as worthiness, relationships, transgender identity, caregiver burnout, self-esteem, and mindfulness.

OCCS is excited to announce that we are offering a new 7-week book club workshop that will be discussing the materials and applications of Dr. Brené Brown’s book on the Power of Vulnerability.  The book club will meet every Tuesday from 6-7:30pm at the Bean Scene coffee shop downtown, the cost is 150.00$/person for the entire seven week course.  Please contact us to find out how we can support you in living a wholehearted life, and to learn more about this exciting new workshop and other specialty programs.

This blog was written by:



Nicole Ripley, BA Psyc, M.Couns

Registered Clinical Counsellor (#10535)

Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services

p: 250.718.9291


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