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What I Learned About Support From Brene Brown

Before I tell you what I learned about support from Brene Brown I have to tell you something that reveals how much of a dork I am.

I just discovered Audible and was elated because a) I love Amazon and b) I LOVE books. I am usually reading 3-5 books at once and the idea of listening to them while enjoying a morning walk or on a long drive is so exciting to me! I also love efficiency.

I prefaced with that because I want you to know I read A LOT. So when I say that a book is one of the BEST books I’ve EVER read, it’s a big freaking deal.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is in my top three.


When people ask why I loved it so much this is my reply,

“Because she gives us the language to articulate feelings and experiences that most of us don’t AND it’s backed up by research.”

Brene Brown is a shame and vulnerability researcher.  As topics of conversation, most of us shy away from shame and vulnerability.  As feelings, most of us bury them-partly because we really can’t face them alone and we’re generally not good at asking for support.

I learned there are three parts to asking for and receiving the kind of support that can instantly zap shame, put feelings of vulnerability to good use and foster connection with the people we care about.

1.  Actually reach out and ask for it. Brene says, “Shame thrives on secret keeping.”  This means we have to tell that ego voice in our heads that’s saying “I should be able to work this out myself!” or “You can’t tell anyone about this, they’ll think you’re the worst person in the world.” to shut the front door.  We also have to allow ourselves to experience the feeling of vulnerability long enough to get the words out.

Your silent suffering isn’t serving anybody. <-Click to Tweet

2. Reach out to the right people when you need it.  This was my big “aha!”. So big I wanted to punch myself in the face when I realized it.  Duh!

Brene says empathy is what we need most when we’re experiencing shame and really when we are seeking any form of connection.  She calls empathy, “a ladder out of the shame hole.”  When we turn to people for support, this is what we should be seeking.  This is why there are right people and wrong people to turn to when we need support.

It all depends on the situation.

“Empathy doesn’t require that we have the exact same experiences as the person sharing their story with us…Empathy is connecting with the emotion that someone is experiencing, not the event or the circumstance.”


Not only does it position us to easily deal with two of our least favorite feelings, but what I’ve learned since putting this into practice is that it gives us a beautiful opportunity to connect with the people we love.  It also prevents us from feeling disappointed or leaving others feeling like they’ve let us down when they were just not the person to ask.

I immediately closed the book, sat down with my journal and listed out which people in my life would be appropriate to contact for support for which situations moving forward.  And by the way this doesn’t just apply to tough situations it applies to everything.

Did something amazing just happen and you want to celebrate? Call the right friend who will scream through the phone and jump up and down with you.  Hear a really inappropriate joke? Don’t call your super PC friend who might judge you for thinking it’s funny-call the most inappropriate person you know and laugh your asses off long and hard.  (For me this is my brother).

Get the idea?

All support really comes down to is having someone who can say, “me too” and mean it.  So whether you do it mentally or write it down in a journal like I did.  Make your list.

3. Be open to receiving it.  Give your loved ones the opportunity to be there for you by opening your heart to receive their love.  Be willing to listen if they offer advice and always say thank you.

I recently turned to my beautiful friend Erin Stutland on a day when I was giving myself an emotional beat down.  (Yup, I’m  human and have days like that too, friend).  I chose Erin intentionally, she was on my list.  I knew I would feel better after being open with her.  By the end of our conversation not only did I feel better but I was on a creative rampage and proceeded to get some stuff done that I’d been procrastinating on.

Support is a powerful thing for everyone involved.  When you speak up, listen up and open up, you create space for great things to happen.

What I Learned About Support From Brene Brown