I might have forgotten how exactly I bumped into Brené Brown’s work but devouring her books helped me live a heart centered life, brave hard conversations and spend each day with more peace and fulfillment.
They say that a heart-centered life is a reflective life. A life in alignment with your values and deepest desires and the ability to make choices that will honor your beliefs, needs and values that no matter how challenging the situation can get, you’ll feel fulfillment and peace because you are able to create and live the life that you have always dreamed about.
But how did Brené Brown’s books helped me to get there and what does Brené Brown know about living a heart centered life and braving hard conversations and what lead me to say that I am now living a centered life and showing up for hard conversations?
Read also: 10 Books That Dramatically Changed My Life.
Brené Brown is an American researcher, a professor, a lecturer, a storyteller, an author and a podcast host who spent two decades studying shame, leadership, vulnerability, empathy and courage. She and her team study and survey people from all walks of life. Her work also changed people’s lives and one of those lives is mine.
And what lead me for her work to resonate well with me to the point of saying that I am now living a heart centered life?
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I left my job and the life that I thought I loved in 2015 without money, plans and savings. I suffered not just from depression but also I wished that I died. The life I knew needed to end because I just didn’t like it anymore.
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I read this book in 2018 or 2019. Three years after I have left the traditional life path for something not secured. I wasn’t so lost anymore and I already have this blog then but I was still working on monetizing it. It was still a very dark time, I was still always exhausted from my odd jobs and the only thing that made made my body release endorphins was my then boyfriend and the books that were helping me find all the words to describe what I was going through.
This book showed me that there’s no shame in not having a perfect life when all my life, I worked so hard for perfection, from getting a high paying job to losing weight to always looking good to dating potential husbands who could potentially provide me with all my needs.
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This book taught me that I need not to be perfect, to change myself to please people, to be loved or to be liked and that I should be who I truly am. That I am the first person who should be embracing and accepting my own imperfect self. This book taught me to live for myself and not for other people.
My whole life, I had fears of being seen alone so I had to always ask my friends to go to the loo with me, do activities with me or even travel with me. But I didn’t know that that started changing when I moved abroad alone and fell in love with the thought of trying out different restaurants and cafe alone, watching movies alone, going to bookstores an browsing books alone that later on, even traveling to other countries alone.
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I was that nerdy and uncool kid at school that nobody wanted to hang out so I made sure that I changed the way I looked so that other people would love to hang out with me and do cool things with me. I didn’t know that that version was not the authentic me.
I turned out to be the book-nerd who loved spending quiet time alone, exploring new places, loved deep and soulful conversations, art, words, poetry, life and the whole cool girl I was portraying wasn’t the real me that it only lead me to confusion and I didn’t know what I’d do to change that until I left my old life to reinvent myself even if it took years to realize that what I wanted to happen was actually a thing and I wasn’t going crazy for wanting to find myself.
After reading The Gifts of Imperfection, I read this book and my life-long search for home and my fears of being alone have been cured. My creative pursuits in blogging and podcasting has been a lonely one and this book showed me four steps to navigate through that dark place by being authentic, being brave, trust and vulnerability.
After reading this book, there’s a huge part of me that felt out of place in conversations that didn’t involve things that matter or things that didn’t have deeper meaning where I’d often choose to get drunk and have fun than open my mouth and talk about things these people would only share during therapy sessions which I found absurd because what kind of friendship or circle was that to begin with?
I noticed that I stopped needing alcohol to say what I needed to say no matter how painfully hard the topic is and I didn’t stop myself from tearing up or crying when I felt like it if that meant showing my true self. I have no more shame in speaking my truth even if that meant that I’d be seen weak, not confident and as if I didn’t know what I am doing.
I no longer choose which mask to wear whenever I’d spend time with other people. I only have one version. If I am happy or sad, you’ll see it.
I stayed long enough in a very dark place and this book gave me ideas on how I could bounce back from rock bottom by dealing with my emotions, finding meaning in every heartache I had (and will still have) and sitting with my own thoughts, ideas and being honest in how they all make me feel. That even if it feels like a long process that tested my patience and mental strength, I have to do it for myself.
This book made me realize that the path I have chosen to take is not an easy one and that I’d still fall many many times but if I am brave enough to always find the lessons these setbacks in life is trying to teach me, I’d always get back up wiser and there are no more challenges that will make me ever yield.
I am grateful for Brené Brown’s work for they have made huge contribution in how I rebuild myself and my journey to becoming whole and at home in my own body.
What book helped you to live a heart centered life? I’d love to read them too.