Putting Myself Out There

Busy StreetI’ve been on a Brene Brown kick recently, and I’m finding that her key themes of vulnerability, shame, wholehearted living, and surviving failure are really resonating with me.  Brown is my kind of author, and I am always going to love a book that integrates self-help, research, spirituality, storytelling and list-making, but during this year of moving, making friends, and new jobs, her work feels especially helpful.

“People who live wholeheartedly are people who are facing their lives and living their lives, putting themselves out there and in consequence knowing that they will get hurt.  They are living with gusto and intention and not taking a backseat in their life.”

This has been a year of putting myself out there, and, if I am being completely honest, I didn’t love it.  With each new class that I’ve taught, service trip that I have led and event that I have planned, I have had to wonder: how will this go?  Will the students respond well?  What if I get lost on my way to the site/event location?  I’ve had to meet a lot of new people, which is tiring for an introvert, and I’ve felt overwhelmed by anxiety, worry, and frustration at numerous points. 

Brown makes the challenge feel worth it.  She makes me realize that the discomfort caused by unknown of the new and the fear of failure are the price that I have to pay for living wholeheartedly, for taking the driver’s seat in my life and living with gusto.  Implicitly, I already knew this; even as the year has uncomfortably unfolded, I’ve thought to myself, “This is hard, but this is worth it; I would rather be nervous about how my endeavors will turn out than bored from doing the same things over and over again.”  But having Brown put words to my experience has helped me to process it and lean into it.