What is shamelessness? With a little help from Brené Brown

heartinhandWe have established our collective goal of embracing imperfection and letting go of shame but what does that look like? I’d like to draw on the work of one of my influences, Brené Brown, to help us envision our goal.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brown talks about wholehearted living, which is very similar to the shamelessness that I promote on this site. According to Brown (2012), “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place worthiness.” (p. 10) Brown also provides a very useful list of what wholehearted people work to bring in to their lives and what they work toward letting go. I’d like to use this list as a starting point for envisioning shamelessness. I then share some of my own examples and ask you to do the same.

Brene Brown’s Ten Guideposts to Wholehearted Living (p. 9)

  1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
  2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
  5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

What shamelessness looks like for me…

  • Wearing a huge smile as I walk down the street
  • Trying something new that I may not be good at. Ever.
  • Showing myself compassion when I make a mistake
  • Being the first to say “I love you” or “I’m sorry”
  • Looking someone in the eye and breathing as I speak to them
  • Listening. Really deeply listening to another person without judging their words.
  • Starting a blog
  • Wearing my Orthotics shoes because that’s what my body needs even though they are bulky and unattractive
  • Singing Katy Perry in the morning to  get pumped
  • Admitting that I feel sad and hurt rather than getting angry or vindictive
  • Humming to myself because it makes me feel better
  • Believing in myself.
  • Dancing and singing with my friends
  • Celebrating someone else’s success without worrying about and comparing myself
  • ….

What does shamelessness look like for you? Can you think of a moment that you’ve moved toward cultivating self-compassion or play and rest? When did you last let go of self-doubt or the need to be cool?

If you haven’t read Brene Brown’s TED talk, then drop everything and watch it. It just might change your life 🙂

The power of vulnerability

The price of invulnerability

Her book Daring Greatly is also a quick and fabulous read! Click below to go to Amazon and buy it.

Works Cited

Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead. Gotham: New York.

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