Tag Archives: Brene Brown

You Are Beautiful

27 May

This post won’t have a picture of me in a bikini.  It’s not about what I look like.  It’s about how I feel about what I look like.

There’s nothing that brings more dread come spring than the idea of bathing suit shopping.  No matter what your size or shape, something about having every inch of your curves exposed or hugged with spandex shakes your confidence.

I like to think of myself as intelligent and not susceptible to advertising’s dirty tricks.  And yet, as I stood in the mirror this week, trying on bathing suits in an attempt to walk that fine line between vulgar and mumsy, all I could think about was how I compared to the models displaying the suits online.

This is ridiculous behavior, I know.  But apparently I suffer from the same negative body image that I hope never to instill in my daughters.  Some of this was the depressive episode.  Depression lies – twists reality until you struggle to trust your own thoughts.  But I’ve honestly always been self-critical and dissatisfied with one or more parts of my body.

My husband was disappointed he missed the bathing suit fashion show.  “I wish you could see you the way I see you,” he says.  I do, too.  He looks at me and sees the whole package.  He sees how well I am proportioned, how beautiful my big, brown eyes are, and how my form curves in all the right places.  I see the dimples on the back of my upper thigh, the loose skin remaining from my two pregnancies, and the extra pounds that snuck on during a well-deserved cheese bender.

Yes, I see you checking out that avitar on the right.  I realize I’m saying all of this with a weight and body shape that many women envy.  Perhaps some will dismiss this post as vain and silly.  But I think it speaks to the scarcity culture that Brene Brown writes about in Daring Greatly.  Never enough.  We’re all programmed to believe that we never have enough, are never thin enough, are never good enough.  And that our value is based on our accomplishments or attributes instead of being intrinsic to who we are.  Additionally, in a culture where women are valued more for their appearance than their intellectual contributions to society, it’s hard not to get lost in society’s beauty standard.

I happened to text a couple of pictures to good friends of mine in a moment of vulnerability.  I admitted my insecurities and they assured me I was beautiful.  And though my husband had said the same thing, it was them I was able to really hear.  These are women I believe to be stunning.  And when I look at them, I don’t see flaws.  I see their strengths.  I see their glowing skin, their long, wavy hair, their luscious lips, and their deep brown eyes.  I see their spirits, their histories, their stories.  It is the culmination of all these that make them beautiful.

Our conversation redirected me to look at myself the same way I see them.  It helped me shake free of the cultural bias and recognize my anxieties for what they were.

I hope you have women in your life like this.  Women who make you feel as beautiful – because our culture sure isn’t going to do that for you.  And if you don’t, seek them out.  They are worth the hunt.

So.  In case no one has told you lately?  You are beautiful.  Believe it.

Mamas Comfort Camp Turns ONE! A Celebration AND A Giveaway!

15 Mar

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Congratulations to Smldada!***

Have you heard about the over 600 members of Mama’s Comfort Camp and the judgement-free culture of support and belonging we’ve cultivated in our Facebook group?  What started as a small group of online friends has blossomed into a once-in-a-lifetime  virtual sisterhood.  And we’re celebrating our one-year-anniversary!

Mama's Comfort Camp

Some very wise mamas have been helping us celebrate by contributing guest posts over at Mamas Comfort Camp, and we held a twitter party on March 10th.  And later today, I’m teaching a short yoga lesson via vlog, so click on over!

And to celebrate here on Learned Happiness, I’m giving away one of my favorite books.  If you know me, it’s no secret that Brene Brown’s books and research have changed my life.  What I didn’t realize about my life was that I’m not so different from everyone else – that shame and insecurity plague every one of us.  That we all just want to be seen, heard, and validated.  And most of all, that when we change who we are to fit what we think others want, we rob ourselves of true happiness.

It’s because of Brene Brown’s books that I’ve become more confident, more courageous, and more authentic.  Her TED Talk on shame pushed me to start blogging and opened up a whole world for me, where writing became therapy and readers became friends.  On a good day, I now believe that I am worthy of love and belonging, no matter what I have accomplished or what has happened to me.  Brene recently sat down with Oprah to share about her newest book, Daring Greatly.  You’re going to love her.

I Thought It Was Just Me

So in the spirit of comforting mothers everywhere, I’m giving away a copy of I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough.”  All you have to do enter is leave a comment below, telling me how you take care of YOURSELF in these busy days when there is never enough time.  If you struggle with this – then share how you WISH could could take care of yourself.  A daily meditation? An occasional good book? A hot cup of coffee each morning? A deep breath at the end of a long day?

And please know, if you’re a Mama?  You’re wanted in Mama’s Comfort Camp.  Head on over to HERE to find out how to join.  It’s easy and free!

Happy, Happy Birthday, Mama’s Comfort Camp!  And congratulations to my friend Yael Saar!  What an amazing baby you’ve created!

**legal stuff:  Giveaway closes on March 20th at midnight, EST.  Winner will be chosen using random.org and will be notified via email.  Winner may choose a hard copy or Kindle version of the book.  I am providing this book as a birthday gift to MCC.  I was not compensated for my opinion – I really do just adore Brene Brown!**

CONGRATULATIONS TO SMLDADA, WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY!

Gifts Of Imperfection – Courage, Compassion, and Connection, Week Two

17 Sep

If you’re just joining in, you can find Week One here.  And the link to the book here.  Welcome.

Gifts Of Imperfection  – Courage, Compassion, and Connection

Brene Brown calls courage, compassion, and connection the Gifts of Imperfection because all three require us to be vulnerable and imperfect, but reap great rewards of a more wholehearted life.  

I particularly love how she discusses that these are life habits – that you can practice “couraging” to become more courageous. I have to say that I have found this to be true. By blogging about my experiences with mental health, I’ve had to practice all three gifts. And it *has* gotten easier to be courageous with practice, though I still struggle in certain settings and with particular people (sometimes even myself!) to be courageous, compassionate, and to connect.  Feeling overwhelmed?  Not to worry.  Brene gives practical, everyday examples of what these look like and makes it clear that even small steps toward the “three C’s” will contribute to your sense of worthiness.

Here are a few of my “a-ha” moments from this chapter:

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” (p. 20)

“The heart of compassion is really acceptance. The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become. Well, it’s difficult to accept people when they are hurting us or taking advantage of us or walking all over us. This research has taught me that if we really want to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.” (pp. 16-17)

“Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it—it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy. The most dangerous thing to do after a shaming experience is hide or bury our story. When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes.” (pp. 9-10)

Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection. BookMobile. Kindle Edition.

For me, it all boils down to speaking my truth.  Being real with myself and people in my life.  It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worthwhile.

Tell me about a time you practiced or witnessed “ordinary courage”. What are some small, practical ways you can be mindful and practice courage, compassion, and connection this week?

Disclaimer: I purchased the book Gifts of Imperfection on my own and am not being compensated for my review of the book or for promoting it. I receive no kickback from any of the Amazon links provided above. I simply love the book and want to share.

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