I'm not a big believer in a higher power. I very much do believe in the power of Brené Brown.
Loving Brené Brown is far from a hot take or unpopular opinion. Her books have are bestsellers multiple times over and have been translated into almost every language on earth. Her TED talk "The Power of Vulnerability" (one of the most-watched TED Talks of all time) and Netflix special have been viewed countless times by a wide audience. I've watched her Netflix special, The Call to Courage, maybe three times? I've cried every single time. And her podcast, Unlocking Us, launched during Covid, is so popular (always top 20 on Apple) that Barack Obama has been a guest and she has an additional show, Dare to Lead, dropping only on Spotify. I can't find the monetary specifics of the deal but Spotify pays big bucks for exclusive rights.
All of that is to say, I'm not breaking the mold by saying that I love Brené Brown. But this past week especially, I've found two of her podcasts to be thought-provoking and important. To start with the heavier and more recent, this episode directly addresses the recent act of domestic terrorism that occurred at The Capitol on January 6. She is one of the first people I've heard talk about the incident without whining, jumping to conclusions, or tossing blame at the feet of the police. It's incredible. For more of a deep dive, I loved her episode with Dax Shepard and Tim Ferris from December. I'm not even a Tim Ferris fan and have never been able to see Dax Shepard outside of the context of Without a Paddle, and I have much more interest in and respect for both of them after listening. They discuss addiction, sexual trauma, parenting, relationships, and regret, to name a few of many topics. It's not light but it's certainly enjoyable.
I particularly loved their discussion of regret. All three eventually agreed that regret can be a useful tool for personal growth, as long as it is not tied to shame. It got me thinking a lot about my many regrets in life and how I must untie them from blame and shame in order to learn from my mistakes and move forward. From my regrets about how I lived my college years and my career missteps (post coming soon on that winding road) to how I started my marriage and what unfolded after our move to New York, I think that looking into the past is only useful to us if we can figure out how to turn our trauma into our medicine (a line from the episode with Tim and Dax). And the only way we can do that is by releasing ourselves from shame and by relinquishing our hold of blaming others. Of course, everything I've learned about shame and its toxic power, I learned from Brené Brown.
This post doesn't do her justice, naturally. But if you are struggling with the heaviness of last year and the first few weeks of this one; if you like learning from smart people who possess charm, vulnerability, and the skill of explaining incredibly complex concepts in a way that "normal people" can understand and digest, then I recommend Brené Brown. Her Netflix special, her books, her podcasts.
I hope you have a fantastic week. To quote the ending of "Unlocking Us", "stay awkward, brave, and kind".