As previously mentioned in Part 1 and 2, Brené Brown is a psychological researcher who studies vulnerability courage, worthiness, and shame. Within her research, she has developed a list that outlines 10 Guideposts to wholehearted living.
To better understand these guideposts, Erica Djossa the founder of “The Love Compass” and a psychotherapist, aims to expanded on guideposts one and four.
Guidepost One: Cultivating Authenticity
Don’t make your decisions based on what others think.
Psychotherapist like Djossa suggests that comparison begins from early ages of social development, because of our desires for social connection. Since our self-identities aren’t fully developed we look to our peers and our surroundings to give us a better understanding of what we are supposed to think or how we are supposed to react to a situation. “There is a difference between being aware of how others will perceive and interpret what you say, and actually making decisions and choices based on what others will think,” says Djossa. With this idea, one must become more aware of themselves and their personal values. Having a better understanding of self will help steer you away from making a decision based on what other may think of you, rather you will begin to make a decision that is more meaningful to you and your life.
Become aware of your masks.
We all have a tendency to put our best foot forward when entering into new relationships and social situations, this is a fairly natural process because we want the other person to like or accept us. Issues can start to arise, however, if we are putting on a different mask or persona all together in various social situations. Djossa gives the example of when one puts on an academic mask around colleagues when we try to give off a very specific impression, and then around a parent group one may try to adapt to who they expect to be there. In every situation, we have a different mask, or we change our colors like a chameleon to fit in and match what others expect of us in that situation. If we can learn to identify the situations that trigger us to change our colors or put on a mask, we can learn to slowly try to be ourselves in those situations.
Learn to tolerate and even embrace vulnerability.
Vulnerability will likely be a theme that weaves throughout all of the 10 guideposts. It takes vulnerability and courage to show up and be authentic. There are risks involved in being authentic. You could get criticized or worse rejected, and therefore being authentic could mean opening up yourself to getting hurt. The alternative is to live a life driven to please others, which is not very satisfying or fulfilling.
Guidepost Four: Cultivating Gratitude and Joy
Write a gratitude list.
Djossa explains, that she usually has every client that she works with develop and keep a 10-item gratitude list in a journal or on their phone. She’s noticed that as humans when we go through a challenging situation, it is often difficult to practice gratitude. Unless, it is a skill that has developed over time. Djossa suggests that having a list that one can easily review helps to jump start the gratitude journey.
Practice appreciation in your relationships.
Appreciation is an expression of gratitude. It is the opposite of criticizing and nagging your spouse. Djossa says, “You would be surprised how a little appreciation goes a long way; I guarantee you will see their demeanor change.” People often say that negative words/actions tend to stand out as we remember them more than positive words/actions, but when it comes to showing appreciation and kindness to your spouse, those acts do not go unnoticed or get forgotten.