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Daring Greatly Summary

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

-Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

As human beings, we have a fundamental need for connection,  love, and belonging. Yet, we fear rejection and are afraid we are not good enough. We try to hide our vulnerabilities, only to create a greater disconnect with our families, communities,  and work. Based on 12 years of research, Dr Brené Brown explains the concept of vulnerability,  and how embracing it can change how we live, love, need and interact with others, to bring whole hearted livings and fulfilling connection.

Daring Greatly is a book about having the courage to be vulnerable in a world where everyone wants to appear strong, confident, and like they know what they are doing.

Lesson 1: Unmasking Vulnerability

“As adults we realise that to live with courage, purpose and connection…we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armour, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen.”

-Daring Greatly, Page 112

In order to remove our armour and put down our weapons, it is necessary to identify how we are masking our shame and protecting our vulnerabilities. Dr Brown identifies three major shields that we use to protect ourselves:

  • Foreboding Joy (Imagining dreadful outcomes that clamp down on momentary joy)
  • Perfectionism (Believing that doing everything perfectly protects us from shame)
  • Numbing (Embracing anything that deadens the pain of discomfort and shame)

She also identifies the powerful disarming strategies for freeing ourselves of these masks:

  • Worthiness (I am enough)
  • Boundaries (I’ve had enough)
  • Engagement (I’m taking risks and letting myself be seen)

Lesson 2: Gremlin Ninja Warrior Training

“If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees.”

-Daring Greatly, Page 58

Dr Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” She counters with the wisdom that “shame resilience is the key to embracing our vulnerability” and leading a wholehearted life. If we are to dare greatly in our lives, we must confront the mental gremlins that prevent us from truly engaging with others.

She goes on to identify the most common shame categories, for both men and women, stressing the difference between guilt and shame. And she outlines a strategy to build shame resilience:

  • Recognising shame and understanding it’s triggers
  • Practicing critical awareness and self-compassion
  • Reaching out to empathetic connections and sharing our stories
  • Speaking about shame and asking for what we need