I’m a self-help junkie. I always have been. Maybe it’s the fact that my dad is a therapist (and a darn good one). Maybe it’s because I minored in psychology. Maybe it’s because I believe I can always be improving myself in some way. Whatever the reason, I’ve always made a beeline to the self-help section upon entering any bookstore.
Since becoming a mom, my time for pleasure reading self-development books has diminished. Well, I guess that’s an excuse-filled way to say it, so instead let me say that it hasn’t been a top priority. On a recent road trip though, I discovered the girls can now both use headphones (!), which left me with a silent bliss to fill however I desired. Being new-ish to the world of podcasts, I didn’t know where to start, so I stuck with my tried and true love: audiobooks.
I remembered seeing snippets here and there about the work of Dr. Brene Brown. At one point I tried to read one of her books, but couldn’t quite get into it. However after a brief search (while filling up with gas #safetyfirst), I stumbled across her audio course, The Power of Vulnerability and decided to give it a try. Listening to the course was akin to attending a conference hearing her speak live and within the first two minutes I was hooked.
Not only is she an incredible storyteller, but she touched on subjects that are at the core of what I am passionate about: shame resilience, vulnerability as a way to facilitate genuine connection, and wholehearted living. If those topics interest you, I highly suggest you listen to the whole series because I have pages of notes I’ve scribbled down furiously as I’ve listened (currently I’m on my second time through it) and I’m only going to touch on one tiny sliver of them in this post.
Now refill your coffee because I’m about to get a little introspective and chatty…
Over the past seven years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve grown immeasurably. (I’d hope so, right?) When I started posting here I was 27, childless, and working as a health coach. Now I’m 33, happily married with two children, and a homeschooling SAHM blogger. I am grateful for where I am and confident in the choices I’ve made with my life. That’s not to say I don’t make mistakes, but in general I feel good about the direction in which I am headed. And though I have my up and down days, I’d consider myself a pretty secure person.
However, at my core, I still have people-pleasing tendencies. In fact, I am a self-proclaimed expert at fitting in. Despite how that may sound, it is not a good thing. Sometimes I automatically morph to fit what I believe people want or expect me to be. Brown touches on this in her course and explains that fitting in is actually the barrier to belonging, a crucial human need, and I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve long struggled between knowing what I believe in and owning it. I’ve learned to approach most topics in such a way to not offend anyone (America, right now, am I right?), but by doing so, I’ve realized I sometimes end up watering down my own beliefs and betraying my truths. I find this ironic because I do not get upset when other people have different ways of doing things or alternative outlooks, yet I often lack the confidence to simply show up and let myself be seen.
I’m also currently reading (OK, listening to- thanks Audible) Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited, as part of the women’s bible study I am in. It’s a Christian perspective that touches on many of the same principles, though instead of wholehearted living (Brown’s term) TerKeurst refers to that kind of quiet confidence as “living loved.” Both writers describe their concept in a beautiful way and I recommend both.
I think it’s a sign that they have overlapped in my life at the same time. With my birthday approaching next week, I always find it a good time to do a little self reflection on my personal growth and goals. For this upcoming year, I’d like to really commit myself to Brown’s personal mantra and make it my own:
Don’t puff up. Don’t shrink. Just stand your sacred ground.
I want my goal, both in writing here and in my day to day interactions, to follow these guidelines.
Don’t puff up. Meaning don’t try to be something I’m not and don’t boast to overcompensate for an insecurity by trying to make my experience or viewpoint more grandiose than it needs to be. To me it also means to not over-explain myself, as I have a tendency to do.
Don’t shrink. On the other hand, don’t submit my viewpoints or beliefs to make others feel more comfortable. I don’t need to make myself smaller to make someone else feel more OK.
Just stand your sacred ground. This is about owning the fact that I am enough and I am worthy and I am deeply loved. Not because I earned it, but because we all are worthy of these things. When I am certain of my worth in my heart, I can enter any situation already full, meaning I don’t need to beg for pieces of love and acceptance from others in the form of head pats or instagram likes.
With this mantra, my self-worth is never on the line. I might feel sad if I was not accepted or misunderstood, and I might even feel disappointed, but I won’t ever feel unworthy or shamed if my ultimate goal is to just to be true to myself, not to necessarily fit in.
I want to continue to open up more in this space without bracing myself for criticism and judgement as soon as I hit publish. I want to feel I am worthy of sharing my truths, not because I know it all (LOL), but because we all should feel comfortable owning and sharing our thoughts and ideas, discussing them, learning from each other, and growing. That’s how real connection happens. We live in a world where people can be quite harsh to each other from behind their keyboards and behind closed doors. As a result, it’s easier to withdraw in order to protect ourselves from getting shamed or hurt. But connection is vital to happiness and without it, we wither and turn to other things to try and fill that empty space.
So with this new year beginning soon for me, I want to continue to work on myself, make time to spend quiet moments in reflection, and make sure I am giving from a place of fulfillment inside myself without seeking outward approval. And I want to encourage you to do they same. We are all already enough.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Today is Hailey’s birthday (our first baby is 6!) and she’s picking the agenda for our Friday field trip today. I have a feeling it will involve ice cream 🙂 Looking at her and Kaitlyn makes me subscribe to this mantra even more, as I want nothing more than to help guide them to grow up with confidence and love in their hearts.
Is wholehearted living an easy or challenging thing for you?
Do you have a book that has inspired a positive change or self-reflection for you?
LOVE this post! Your words really resonate with me. Ive just started to dabble in Dr Bene Brown’s work. I’m going to check out her series ( not sure I can do the audible version, I’m such a book person) but I’m gonna give it a try! Love her Mantra..I really need to make this my own as well! I think its wonderful that you are at this point in your life, being confident of your choices and wholehearted living. Life can be hard!! I feel it took me a bit longer as I’m in my 40’s but I think I’m getting there and its a wonderful, liberating feeling!! As always, thanks for this inspiring post 🙂 Great start to my day!!
Yes! I have struggled with the same thing. And it’s actually made it even harder to find good mom friends.
I loved the power of vulnerability and had to immediately listen to it again after I finished because I found myself just nodding in agreement the whole time- also listened on audible. When I finished I wanted to dive right into more of her work so I got daring greatly on audible and had a hard time getting into it because it was not narrated by her. I heard she is going to re record it herself because she has gotten a lot of similar feed back so just FYI if you were going to get that one I’d wait until she records it herself. Shauna neiquests “present over perfect” was also an amazing eye opener for me. Hope you guys have an awesome Friday field trip and weekend. Happy birthday hailey!!
Brittany Dixon says
I’ve heard a lot about present over perfect and want to read that one too! And thanks for the heads up about the narration; interesting to hear that made a difference to more people than just me!
Awesome post! Thanks for the advice….we can all learn from these points.
Happy birthday to your sweet little girl, and have a great weekend!
I’ve loved her work that I have read so far, so thank you for this recommendation and reminder to pursue more of her work. She actually just released a new book this week 🙂
My oldest daughter turned 6 on Tuesday and the 3 year old started preschool…it is such a special time but I have felt emotional this week about my babies growing up!!! Happy Birthday Hayley!!!
I love this so much! I’m definitely going to add the Brene Brown series and the book you mentioned to my wish list – I love Audible! (I also recently realized the library has tons of audiobooks you can download for free, I had no idea). Happy birthday to Hailey!!
Brittany Dixon says
I really need to figure out how to download the library audiobooks- so cool!
KIm P says
Well said; so many of us can apply this advice to our daily life!
Wow! “An expert at fitting in” also describes me perfectly! Such a great post and I will be listening to that series. Thanks!
Love this and this speaks so much to me as well. I am an introvert that likes to people pls and fit in. This is a great reminder.
On another note, what do the kids plug their headphones into? An iPad, leapfrog or is this just the car installed DVD player ?
I need to do this lol
And how do uisten to ur podcast? Is it just ur iPhone?
Brittany Dixon says
A car-installed DVD player! They get so excited for long road trips because it’s the only time we use it 🙂
Yes, I just use my iphone, but if David is with us, he brings his bluetooth speaker!
I’ve recently listened to The Happiness Equation on audio and really enjoyed it. Loved the mantra “do it for you”. I’ve seen this shift in education; in the past it seemed there was a philosophy that students should and will perform to please their teachers. Now (thankfully) it is generally accepted that students should do and perform for themselves, for their own success and happiness, not to please others or make their teachers happy.
Such a wonderful post! I think my level of wholehearted living changes through various seasons of my life, but is certainly something worth working towards embracing at all times.
I love Brene Brown’s work, too! I have a hold request at the library for her new book. 😉 A woman I went to college with, Katie, writes at mamathereader.com. Many of her topics are similar to this post and I highly recommend checking out her blog! She always leaves me with something to think about.
Brittany Dixon says
Thanks for the suggestion, Laura! Clicking over to check it out now!
JOHN J STATHAS says
I admire and respect your continual search for life’s meaning, developing a healthy life style, and motivating others to do the same. Perhaps more will as a result of this post. Well spoken educator/counselor!
Pleeaassseee move to Texas so we can be bffs. Seriously. Also my bday is (almost) next week too! (The 24th) And happy birthday to hailey!!
Haha to this- I was about to tell her to move to Georgia for the same reason 😉
Brittany Dixon says
This makes me want to plan a big ‘ol meet-up!! I’d love to be able to just hang out and chat!
PS- happy early birthday to you, Lauren!! 🙂
So refreshing to read this. I struggle in the people pleasing area in a major way. I know who I am, but I also know how to tweak “me” to fit the needs of others around me the best. And as good as that sounds, it’s exhausting!!! I need to be a little more confident in myself and just do me. Thank you for the books references. Your beauty shines through from the inside out in these types of posts.
Also, loved the part where you talk about fitting in. I am not a people pleaser at heart and as a result spent much of my middle school/ high school years floating in and out of various social groups. This in itself was not necessarily easy, but changing myself to fit in felt completely unnatural, and I knew I would be presenting a watered down version of my true self. Anyhow, such an interesting topic! You have a natural gift for presenting such thought provoking ideas to your readers!
Brittany Dixon says
Thanks Laura! I always love hearing your input on these kind of topics because I feel like it offers a fresh perspective, different from my own and I find it so helpful!
As I was reading this post, I honestly though, “Get out of my head!!” I absolutely love Dr. Brene Brown and her work. I’ve read all of her books/articles and watched her TED talks and various YouTube videos. Her messages are so pertinent to our times and they resonate with me more than anything else I’ve ever come across. I hope we (as in you and me!) get to meet in real life one day…we’re so similar!
Brittany Dixon says
If you are ever in NC, hit me up! Or maybe we’ll both end up back around Atlanta for a weekend at some point? I’d love to meet up and snag a Kaiden snuggle <3
Great post!! You are an inspiration. I will have to listen/read the power of vulnerability and Brene Brown . I use to be a real people pleaser but I have gotten better –now I hope by being myself people are still pleased😊
Wonderful post! This really resonated with me. I’m definitely going to listen to the series you suggested. Thanks!!
Thank you for this timely post! I literally cried as I read it. It may sound silly, but I did. I moved to a new state to be closer to family a year ago; and have struggled immensely with finding friendships and fitting in. I feel with each ounce of effort that I try to put myself out there, the door gets shut directly on my face. I wasn’t going to write a comment, but I thought that if I didn’t do so, that I’d not be showing up for myself. I feel like I’m withering away my life and can’t seem to genuinely smile. I recently started reading Lysa’s book – uninvited – and so far, I like it. I’m only 2 chapters in, but it is a good read thusfar. Thank you again for your touching – and inspiring- post. I hope you and your family have had a wonderful weekend!
Brittany Dixon says
I wish I could reach out and give you a hug, Paige. It hurts to hear you are struggling with this transition, but you sound like you have a beautiful heart and I hope you stay open and continue to reach for connections because it sounds like you would be an incredible friend. Thank you for your comment, it means so much to hear it resonated with you, and know I’m here in NC cheering you on! Keep authentically putting yourself out there and that way the friendships you find will be real and fulfilling. I hope you have a great week! <3
sabrina L says
This is the realest, empowering message of my day. I was searching for “how to not let others see right through me” I searched it for the reason that I may help myself not overly share because I tend to so, but also to feel vulnerable, and frank enough to say things others might not want to hear or expect to hear, but open enough that even if
“they can read me” won’t be something I have in my noggin to keep myself from connections. But I am so grateful I came across this lovely blog post, it felt personal and also felt like I also secretly go through this subconsciously during connections and then I tend to over think of what I had said after the interaction. but reading This has brought to light what I need to reflect more on . thank you for sharing!