So I’m currently reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and it’s been awhile since I picked it up, but today I felt like reading it on my lunch break. So I’m at the part where Brown talks about what she refers to as the “common vulnerability arsenal,” which is shielding we put in place to protect ourselves from vulnerability.
The arsenal is made up of foreboding joy, perfectionism and numbing. After reading the description of each, I recognized that I have mastered the art of perfectionism and numbing. Perfectionism is the idea that if you do all things perfectly, you’ll never have to experience shame. While numbing is clinging to whatever helps you avoid pain and discomfort.
Looking at it from that perspective, it takes a lot of work to keep those two pieces of arsenal in place. All to avoid experiencing shame. Is shame that great a burden to bear that we go to extreme lengths not to experience it? It’s striking to me that shame has that much power over my life, and the lives of so many of us.
Thankfully, Brown gives us strategies to help us eliminate these shields. The antidote to foreboding joy is, understandably, gratitude. Makes sense. When you are grateful for what you have, you don’t have to catastrophize any joy you let in. Foreboding joy is based on the concept of scarcity, but gratitude is alll about having enough. This is not something I really struggle with.
Perfection and numbing out are a different story.
So in terms of perfectionism, the key to moving beyond it is “embracing the cracks.” And I am learning how to do this much better than I used to. Could I be better? Absolutely. Can’t we all? But I am growing more mindful of trying to always look perfect and instead just be real—even if that means I may look goofy or silly. At least I’m authentic, right?
Now, about numbing. Here’s the trouble with it: When you numb out to pain, it becomes a slippery slope and you start numbing out to joy and everything else. The solution for overcoming numbness? A crucial part is leaning into your emotions and just feeling it all. And mindfulness is also key here. Because you have to recognize that you’re avoiding feeling. This is the one that I am working on with this blog. And it is helping. It forces me to literally stop and assess how I’m feeling every. single. day.
I’m so glad that I found Daring Greatly and I love the strategies Brown offers because they are truly very simple, though not always easy, but definitely doable.
I am finally feeling ready to start shedding my armor.