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Posts tagged "Brene Brown"

If This is Us, Then I Am Frank Gallagher

If This is Us, Then I Am Frank Gallagher

Every week millions of people tune in to watch the emotional, touching, and poignant This is Us and my Facebook newsfeed is all:

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And every week I’m like:

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I realize that writing about my dislike of the show is akin to social atheism. We all want to believe that our family story looks like the attractive, well-written characters we see played out each week. But you can count my country ass out.

I do not like This is Us. It feels emotionally manipulative and unrealistic. But then again, I didn’t like Parenthood either. I KNOW. KICK ME…

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Unless You're God, 'Be Yourself' Is Terrible Advice

Unless You’re God, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice

This week The New York Times published an op-ed by Adam Grant entitled, “Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice.” Grant highlights what we might call “the law of just being yourself,” the widespread cultural mandate that, when followed correctly, should guarantee both freedom and success.

We are in the Age of Authenticity, where “be yourself” is the defining advice in life, love and career. Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world. As Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, defines it, authenticity is “the…

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The Cost and Benefit of Forgiveness (Class)

The Cost and Benefit of Forgiveness (Class)

I remember a conversation some years ago where a friend was voicing her chief objection to Christianity. It had nothing to do with science, or politics, or even suffering (at least not explicitly). What she found offensive about the faith was the notion/assertion/accusation that one of our primary needs as human beings is for forgiveness. In her view, the Christian emphasis on forgiveness was part and parcel of a defeatist anthropology that undermined human dignity, perpetuating negative self-understandings that we would be better off without. Furthermore, it set people up as guilty by default, which, when it came to systemic…

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Over-Confident Men and Underestimating Women: Some Thoughts on Shame and Leadership

Over-Confident Men and Underestimating Women: Some Thoughts on Shame and Leadership

Back in May I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly that rocked me. “The Confidence Gap” addressed the gaping hole of women in top leadership positions. I read it expecting the usual issues: poor math scores, smaller salaries, always feeling behind everyone else. And certainly, this article provided plenty of those sad and disappointing assessments.

As a woman, some of the information was also incredibly helpful. We do not take chances the way men do. We underestimate ourselves. Culture’s need to shape us into “good girls” does permanent damage when it comes to necessary risk taking. But the thing that bothered…

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Ubuntu and the Sharpened Pencils: Welcome Back to School

Ubuntu and the Sharpened Pencils: Welcome Back to School

Over the next several weeks, children will enter new classrooms across the country, sporting shiny sneakers sans skid-marks and carrying freshly sharpened pencils and blank notebook paper. And they are perhaps a bit nervous (or a lot nervous) about unearthing the answer to a question they’ve been wondering for weeks: Who did I get this year? Who will stand in front of us every day, and with whom will I spend the next nine months? Is she a Miss Honey or a Miss Trunchbull? Will she encourage me or lock me in the chokey? But whether this teacher is old,…

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Too Great of Expectations? Being Ordinary in a Culture of Extraordinary

Too Great of Expectations? Being Ordinary in a Culture of Extraordinary

Dickens had it right long before Brené Brown did, but she certainly dusts his ideas off a bit.

As an English teacher attempting to ignite within my students’ brains interest in something other than taking selfies, Yik-Yak, or lulu-lemon yoga pants, I find it important to see the value in a text myself before asking my students to read it. We recently finished reading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, a novel which I likely Sparknote-d my way through as a freshman in high school (gasp). I just didn’t like it. So I felt a bit of trepidation as we approached this text, fearing that my experience…

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Another Week Ends: Francis I and God as Love, Llewyn Davis Is a Failure, More Brene Brown, Questing Against the Wind, the Horror of Breakfast Meetings, Christmas Is Alright, and the Death of the Funeral

Another Week Ends: Francis I and God as Love, Llewyn Davis Is a Failure, More Brene Brown, Questing Against the Wind, the Horror of Breakfast Meetings, Christmas Is Alright, and the Death of the Funeral

1. Reflections on Pope Francis continue, with the increasingly-familiar tension between acclamation for the Pope’s compassionate, grace-focused tone and suspicion, from another camp, concerning his lack of doctrinal rigidity. Enter Rod Dreher, the prolific ex-Catholic writer, who published a while back in Time an essay saying the following:

I fear his merciful words will be received not as love but license. The “spirit of Pope Francis” will replace the “spirit of Vatican II” as the rationalization people will use to ignore the difficult teachings of the faith. If so, this Pope will turn out to be like his predecessor John XXIII: a dear man,…

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Brene Brown Returns to Church (and Finds Jesus Weeping)

Too awesome to bury in a weekender post, our love affair with Brene continues. This comes to us via the excellent site The Work of the People:

High School Never Ends?

High School Never Ends?

While we’re on the subject of young people, Jennifer Senior’s “Why You Never Truly Leave High School” in New York Magazine is an absolute goldmine on the topic of identity. High school has long been understood as an incubator for identity formation, but it’s still fascinating to read about the research behind it, particularly why it makes for such a lousy incubator. Everyone knows that we bear the scars we receive during those years for a lifetime; to see them tracked and quantified is pretty scary. As if we needed another reminder of how identity can be a prison! (One…

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Brene Brown and the End of Shame (See: Nazarene Carpenter)

Brene Brown and the End of Shame (See: Nazarene Carpenter)

One of the best things about moving to Houston, Texas, a year ago (other than the Mexican food and Blue Bell ice cream) is that I now live in the same town as Brené Brown. As such, I’ve been able to hear her twice: once as a speaker at the church where I work and just recently at a gathering of clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Many of you have watched her 2010 TEDx talk on vulnerability (which went viral Gangnam style). And she’s been on this here blog here, here, and here.  In May, she gave a…

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Hope for Perfectionist Workaholic Control Freaks: Vulnerability and the Birthplace of Love

Hope for Perfectionist Workaholic Control Freaks: Vulnerability and the Birthplace of Love

We’ve made no secret of our love for author/researcher/social worker Brene Brown. The Washington Post published a wonderful Valentine’s Day piece of hers, “A Love Note to a Workaholic,” which represents a fresh take on her familiar theme of vulnerability and its counter-intuitive power. Although she may make a distinction between vulnerability and weakness, I’m not so sure she isn’t describing the horizontal (and universal!) meat on the vertical bones of 2 Cor 12:9 (“strength made perfect in weakness”). When she speaks of perfectionism or workaholism, for example, she is talking about two of the more insidious modern iterations of…

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Brene Brown on The Power of Vulnerability

Brene Brown on The Power of Vulnerability

A courageous address from Brene Brown at last year’s TED summit in Houston, jam-packed with insight and premised on a concept of ‘enoughness’ which has more than a little in common with what we talk about on here so frequently. It’s, um, enough to make one wonder where Brown, the social worker responsible for that fantastic article on Perfectionism a few months back, is coming from. That is, it seems positively soaked in Christian understandings, endorsing in roundabout ways the healing power of repentance, our enslavement to self-justification and inherent obsession with righteousness, the entire idea of strength in weakness,…

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