• An Authenticity Mantra and Why We Need One

    Once again I’ve found myself listening to Brene Brown, a truly inspirational speaker. The teaching of hers that I am exploring this week is the importance of being authentic. It has inspired me to adopt her authenticity mantra:

    “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up.
    Just stand your sacred ground.”

    For my image creation this week I have been experimenting with simple shapes and textures. This piece uses a texture I created while lino-printing, and a crack texture that I drew by hand.

    What Brene found, through extensive research, was that ‘fitting in’ is the primary barrier to belonging. True belonging, she claims, only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world. She says fitting in is all about assessing a situation and acclimating to it. When our goal is to fit in, and it fails, the resulting emotion is shame. When our goal is to be genuine – our authentic selves – and it doesn’t go well, the result can be disappointment, confusion, perhaps sadness or another emotion, but it is not shame because our self worth is not on the line.

    True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.

    Being authentic allows us to connect deeply with people, particularly those that share the same values and desires as us. It liberates us from the pressure of trying to be perfect or what other people want us to be. We can act consciously in line with our core values and beliefs without being swayed by the forces and influences around us.
    The spiritual leader Pema Chodron makes an important point about the authentic self:

    “The point is that our true nature is not some ideal that we have to live up to. It’s who we are right now, and that’s what we can make friends with and celebrate”

    Pema Chodron

    There is an exceptionally good recording of Brene Brown speaking on this topic (and more) on Audible. The recording is called The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage and is made by Sounds True. I highly recommend it, and if you are not already a member of Audible you can sign up and get this recording for free.
    So remember: “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Just stand your sacred ground.”
    Why not make this your mantra too?

    The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage by Brene Brown

  • Daring Greatly:
    Brene Brown & Theodore Roosevelt

    Most people will be familiar with the work of researcher-storyteller Brene Brown. If I had to name one person whose ideas I most admire and wish to integrate into my everyday life it is Brene’s. Why? Because her ideas come from years of research – thousands upon thousands of pieces of data. She’s also extremely likable, very funny, down to earth, and her findings just make so much sense to me.

    My featured creation this week is a pattern I put together in Photoshop using three separate linocut prints I made recently (see previous post).

    Through reading Brene Brown’s excellent book Daring Greatly I was introduced to a wonderful passage from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt called “Citizenship in a Republic”, sometimes also referred to as “The Man in the Arena”. It evokes powerful imagery and has an inspiring message. I think it’s also a great follow-on from the last post – supporting the idea that it’s the showing up that counts, not the result. Here is the famous passage:

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….

    Theodore Roosevelt

    A lot of Brene’s work examines vulnerability. She took a lot of inspiration from the passage above and teaches that we must dare to show up and let ourselves been seen. Her TED talks are among the most watched, and I guarantee it’s time well spent. If you haven’t already seen them I hope you will enjoy them now. Scroll down to find the famous talks.
    Have a good week everyone,
    Bren xxx

    The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown. This is a Sounds True Recording available on Audible.

    The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong – all excellent books by Brene Brown,

    Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

    Brene Brown: Listening to Shame