Brené Brown: How to Live a Wholehearted Life

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Annie Bauer, Digital Biz Strategist for Women Online Entrepreneurs, at her home


This is your guidebook to embracing who you are, loving yourself, and stepping out in enough-ness.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown starts out with this message:

"No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It's going to bed at night thinking, 'Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging'."

I want you to know this one thing the most, and I want you to start believing it to your core:

You Are Enough

Now, let's dive in.




After driving the point home that you are worthy and brave, Brené then presents the DIG method to us. But not the old Dig Deep way of pushing through, forcing things, and just powering our way through the muck. Instead, people living Wholeheartedly get . . . 

  • Deliberate in their thoughts and behaviors
  • Inspired to make new and different choices
  • Going. They take action. 

In each of the 10 Guideposts in the book, there is a DIG Deep section to help you apply the principle with practical steps. I love this because just reading about principles that make our lives better only gets us part of the way there. I am a huge advocate of giving everyone the actions and the roadmap to start applying knowledge and seeing transformation, so I think you are going to love this, too.



Before we dive into the 10 Guideposts, there is a discussion about courage, compassion, and connection. You'll hear me teach a lot about confidence. Courage is key to becoming more confident in who you really are. Being courageous means owning your story and rising above the shame that holds you back.

Around page 10 is one of my favorite parts of the book because it addresses the six types of people who don't deserve to hear your shame story. This is a critical piece of information because often when we hear the terms "vulnerability" and "authenticity" thrown around on social media and in books, we think this just means full transparency with the entire world.

But nothing could be further from the truth. As we first step into the light to claim our true selves, it's important to share with the people who have earned the right to hear your story.

Make sure to take the time to read the part on compassion, too. We all know about compassion as being empathetic and caring--the ability to understand and feel what others are going through.

But did you know that compassion is very much about setting boundaries? I love this because holding other people accountable for their behaviors is something I ascribe to and was a huge part of my own journey in owning my story.

Finally, for life to have real meaning and for us to be whole human beings, connection is vital. We now know from neuroscience that humans are meant to be social creatures and to form deep and meaningful bonds with those around us.



Here's what is truly at the heart of Wholeheartedness: Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now.

Right this minute. As is.

I think you will love this section on why we need to let go of what others think and what we think we should be or become before we can be deemed "worthy enough".  Owning your story, claiming your identity, and becoming who you truly are is all wrapped up in our sense of worth about ourselves.

And here's the truth: you are all that you need to be right now. In case you glanced over that line, I'll say it again. You are all that you need to be right now.



This is where Brené really digs into the heart of her research and her life's work. She is, after all, the shame researcher. So if we have all this knowledge on the "how to" and the "what to do", then why is it that we often, well . . . don't?

Why is it that we are a nation that is stressed out, overweight, on medication, and in the grips of anxiety and depression? Brené will unpack why tackling the roadblocks head-on is important. This opens up the path on your journey towards becoming a more authentic, whole, and contented you.



The rest of the book is comprised of ten different guideposts covering everything from resilience, authenticity, joy, and intuition to rest, play, laughter, song, and dance.

Some years back, I came across a Brighton necklace inscribed with these words from E.E. Cummings: "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are".

I found this necklace at a pivotal time in my life when I was really digging into who I was and shedding all the years of pre-conceived notions of perfection, expectations, and pleasing others. It hangs around my neck right now as I write this post.

It takes immense courage to follow the guideposts in this book. Action and commitment are necessary to improve yourself daily and lean into that "Beautiful You" buried  inside. I know, because I have been down that road just like many of you.

But here's my challenge to you:  

Wouldn't you rather muster up the courage to embrace who you were meant to be, and live a life that is authentic and without ridiculous expectations and "shoulds"?

Isn't it easier to be brave now and figure it out than to be at the end of our lives and burdened with the oppressive weight of knowing that our lives were unlived?

You can find your own copy of The Gifts of Imperfection here.