How Do You Find Community AND Live a Courageous Life? / by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Greg Rakozy

The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we are defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable.
— Brene Brown

We want to belong and to be ourselves. These desires often get in the the way of each other. Our friends and family don't always understand or agree with our choices. And being courageous doesn't necessarily help you make friends. 

I've struggled to find a balance between these extremes.  But apparently this isn't the sort of thing you master. It's something we all have to continuously work on.

Brene Brown's new book, Rising Strong, talks about developing the awareness and resilience to make these types of decisions. We have to develop a new set of practices and habits. With some hard work, we're able to recognize what is most useful in a given situation.

Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from the book about this topic:

1. Vulnerability is extremely difficult but also the only way toward everything we want.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." -Brene Brown

2. Healthy relationships start with self-respect.

"....People learn how to treat us based on how they see us treat ourselves. If I don't put value on my work or my time,  neither will the person I am helping. Boundaries are a function of self-respect and self-love." -Brene Brown

3. We all need to find "our tribe" in order to be courageous- individuals or a group of people you can fully be yourself around. Making brave choices is not easy or painless. Having a support system while we get out of our comfort zone makes the successes meaningful and failures less difficult.

4. Continue to show up- even when you are afraid, ready to give up, or have failed. Reflect on what worked and what you want to do differently next time. The more you learn through experience, the more you grow.

How do you find community AND live an courageous life? Do you find one easier than the other?