Over the Christmas holiday I was perusing my Kindle books and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown caught my eye. I had read much of it previously, but I guess it was not the right time because I dropped it in the middle and recalled nothing that I had read. That the book had come up in conversation a couple of times over the last month and that I was going on a trip were inspiration enough to pick it back up and start at the beginning.
Being a woman of a certain age the book contains nothing that I didn’t already know, but does talk about many things that I struggle with daily in spite of that fact. Brene is a researcher/storyteller whose focus is on shame. My take away about this particular book is that it is about being authentic. Living a life as your most real self… being vulnerable and offering yourself to the world regardless of what people may think. When we dare to do that we often fall into a pit of shame. *nodding head* I personally claim authenticity as one of my personality traits, but how many times have I spent a lovely amount of time with a friend talking about the things that are closest to my heart and come home wondering why I shared the things that I did… sure that the friend thought I was totally nuts and would most likely ghost me in the future. Feelings of doubt like that are those of shame. I had no idea that was how to define them.
I really didn’t feel like the book spoke to me all that much (although after reading my last paragraph, maybe it did). I enjoyed reading Brown’s work, so I decided to go deeper and read Daring Greatly. This book is prefaced by Theodore Roosevelt’s quote:
“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 at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
When we do things that make us feel vulnerable we are “daring greatly.” If we fall at least we tried. I so often ask my children “what is the worst that can happen?” when they bring up what they think are crazy but fabulous ideas… jamming for a retirement home for volunteer hours at school, starting a Space Jam Appreciation Club (ok, that one was out there, but #2 DID ask a teacher to sponsor it and found out it didn’t hurt that bad when the teacher shot him down), asking a girl out, going to sleep in a box for a night during “Box City” at school without knowing any if any of his friends would be there with him… Even IF one of these things that make them vulnerable was to fail miserably, what is the worst that happens? They still are worthy of love and ARE loved. They are enough in spite of the failure… even in spite of the success.
I want to be an example to my boys that there is worth in doing something because your heart calls you to do it. That in the event that they fall they can take solace in the fact that they tried. There is no certainty in life so there is never a “safe enough” time. I only have a few more years where they are under my roof and I can make sure that they understand this. I might fail in instilling that knowledge, but I will dare greatly to make sure they never doubt there is a safe place to land.
My “resolution” for 2016 is to “dare greatly” and live authentically. I would like to spend 2016 daring greatly for my family and for me – Doing things that my heart calls me to do and that share my vulnerability with others because I know those are the times I feel most alive.
I am not sure what this looks like yet. I am only 16% through the book according to my Kindle. I guess my first act in this resolve is to click on the “publish” button.
Will you dare greatly with me?