I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” after Joy Prouty’s workshop brought to light a lot of hidden ways that I was hiding from unforeseen pain and not living an authentic life. I’ve always seen myself as authentic, but as I’ve grown older I’ve noticed how my honesty has turned into cynicism and my faith became a shield to numb unforeseen pain and fear. Instead of walking forward with courage in my faith in gentleness towards others, I was simply hiding and hoping that I wouldn’t have to experience anymore pain.
In her book she talks about how one of the ways we protect ourselves from vulnerability is “foreboding joy” (the others were perfectionism to avoid shame from others, addiction, and numbness to avoid any pain at all-which numbs ALL emotion and connection), she talked about how people can’t fully embrace joy in the moment because they are so afraid that things are so good that something horrible must be around the corner. This blew my mind. It is exactly how I’ve lived for the last 12 years after a family situation left me blindsided… always bracing for calamity by making up horror scenarios in my mind and when little waves of it do come true, I am so numb that it comes and goes without much effect on my emotions. I’ve turned into a tough girl that can do it all and be under the weight of it all without any effect. I even endured my 2 homebirths under this mantra.- “you can do it, you won’t die… most likely. Just be tough”.
Today I chose real, unadulterated joy for the first time in YEARS. I saw my children and was in the moment with them, I wasn’t distracted by fear of some unknown that could happen to them or numb by just trying to make it through another day of motherhood. I saw the cloud of fear approach several times and I told it to go away, because I was going to choose joy.
I want to live a wholehearted life and and that means risking everything daily by being open and living in the present without defense mechanisms to “protect” me, when in fact they only keep me from fully living connected. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I am going to shut the “shame tape” off and live fully engaging with people around me.
No more cynicism, disconnection, or numbness. I want to fully trust God with my life and take it as it comes- courageous in the moments when fear and shame are whispering doubt and armed with true faith and love for those around me. Wholehearted and 100% in the game no matter what comes my way. I believe that truth can really set you free, and I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in my state of mind since beginning her book. I do feel a LOT more free.
This wholehearted mindset has already created a deeper change even in my art and photography- I am SO excited to see how my life will bloom from here!
If you haven’t heard of her, buy her book or listen to these Ted Talks below.