One of my favorite authors of all time is Dr. Brené Brown. I love to hear her speak even more so I usually listen to her audiobooks with her as the narrator. I listen to a lot of books. It’s my preferred way of learning. I especially appreciate the fact that she’s also an introvert. It always takes people by surprise when I say that I am an introvert because I am not shy. But the two traits are not mutually exclusive. I am very selective about who I interact with because people drain me. I am also an empath so I can feel the emotions of the people around me. Oftentimes the people that I am most intimately connected can be even more draining. But back to Dr. Brené.
Dr. Brené has done many years of research on shame. She has written many books on how courage, fear, and vulnerability play huge roles in us establishing deep connections with people and with living life wholeheartedly. I have not found a lie in any one word she has spoken or written. I urge you to read all of her work. And because I love and respect her so much, I will also not attempt to summarize her life’s work. I will only attempt to explain one concept that I believe she explains throughout her work. But please understand that these are my words.
Get Real with Yourself!
We live in a society where we are expected to put on a mask. Our current social construct has our ego in the driver’s seat. We want to look good, feel good, be right and be in control. But when we are real with ourselves sometimes we do not look good, we do not feel good, we are not right and we are not in control. Unfortunately, to put it plainly we are running around scared that someone might figure out that we do not have it all together. News Flash!!! No one has it all together. I have seen and even ascribed to the message of the suffering servant.
The one that is strong that takes care of everyone but no one cares for in return. I found two things to be flawed when I hear people (even myself) get on this tangent. First, I ask if the suffering servant let the people around them know they needed help. The majority of the time the answer is no. I would say a good 85% of the time the answer is no. My follow up question is usually why? Which takes some time to unpack because our ego works very hard to blame everyone instead of just claiming whatever fear is really looming. Now, I understand that sometimes we need help and the people close to us are unable to help but we have an opportunity to be seen and heard.
Once we have dug deep enough to get to the fear and separation, I circle back around to the second problem with this logic. “When did you figure out you were overtaxed?” This is where the work is done. We need to get real with ourselves on how much we can take. PERIOD. I am responsible for not saying not; no one else. Brené also writes, “Clarity is Kind.” Letting people know where you are is a form of being kind. It takes courage and vulnerability. They may judge you and that it is going to happen from time to time whether you know of it or not. The most important thing is, you have done the hard work to get real with yourself. Once you are real and clear with yourself you can start to set boundaries with yourself and others. Understand what you are willing to tolerate and what is not ok with you.