“I will not be a mystery to my children. They will know me and I will share my stories with them- the stories of failure, shame, and accomplishment. They will know they aren’t alone in that wilderness.”
“This is who I am.”
“This is where I am from.”
“This is my mess.”
“This is what it means to belong to myself.”
Chapter 4: People Are Hard To Hate Close Up. Move In.
I literally was living this chapter while reading it. A not-so-nice comment was left on my Instagram during the week that I read this chapter and by no means do I want you to read this and think “oh poor Chrissy!” I’m great! No really it stung for a couple minutes and brought up some past insecurities but really it was a gift! It helped me put things into perspective and live the ideas of this chapter out first hand. I thought, “oh this person clearly doesn’t know me and if they took the time to move in close and get to know me there would be no way they would have said what they did.” We live in a culture that is so quick to judge and we’re often so angry and upset in our own heads that we don’t take the time to get out them in order to understand others. So yes, that nasty comment was so enlightening and I thank that person for allowing me to learn this lesson first hand… oh and I pray for them too because they’re probably not that happy of a person.
Here are some thoughts and questions on chapter 4.
- How have you seen opinions online and in the real world disembodied from accountability, truth, and identity?
- How can we change our political rhetoric in order to stay “zoomed in” to who people really are?
- Pain always finds a way to make itself known…I love this idea because it’s so true! How many times in your life has pain popped up at the worst time? Maybe it’s at work or class or oh say during “back to school night” at your son’s kindergarten class like it did for me. Tangent: the teacher was going over all the goals for the year and things the children will be expected to know and I got all teary eyed and had to take some deep breaths to get through my overwhelmed emotions. I paid attention to the pain afterward and realized that kindergarten was very stressful for me when I was 5 years old and it was the first time I told myself a negative story, “that I was dumb and slower than everyone else.” I’ve been fighting that negative story for 30 years now. That pain reared it’s head during that meeting in a room filled with other parents; I hid it well but it was a reminder for me to press into my pain and pay attention to emotions. What pain do you need to press into today?
- Anger is a catalyst. Holding onto it will make us exhausted and sick. Internalizing anger will take away our joy and spirit; externalizing anger will make us less effective in our attempts to create change and forge connection. What anger do you need to let go of? Close your eyes, imagine that thing that produced the anger, imagine yourself digging it out like an excavator or archeologist and then however you would like to exterminate it do it! Imagine yourself releasing it, letting it go, or blowing it up…however you want to visualize it is great.
- What is your reaction to Antoine Leiris’s response to the terrorists that took the life of his wife and the mother of his child on page 68-69? “You will not have my hate”….. so courage and so powerful I get chills when I read it.
- On boundaries in the wilderness: I know when my boundaries are crossed I get bitter and I don’t feel emotionally safe. What boundaries of yours get crossed the most and who is crossing them? How can you enforce those boundaries thus turning bitterness into love?
- I loved how Dr. Brown pinpoints “dehumanizing language” as something we have done for ages and still do today in order to get our own agenda across or make someone less human so we can justify our behavior and thoughts. How have you participated in this (since I think we all do it) and how can we change the way we talk and receive this kind of language from others? For example instead of calling someone their disorder or disability such as, “that person is autistic” you can say “that person has autism” or “that is an immigrant” you can say “that person is new to this country”. It’s more inclusive and humanizing and moves in closer to the actual human than adhering them to a group we think we have pegged.
- On conflict transformation: What did you think about Dr. Brown’s BRAVING skills for navigating conflict? Have you tried any yet while reading this book and if so what was the experience like?
- What is your defense when you get fearful and anxious in conflict with other? How can you shift your focus to arriving at “conflict transformation?”
- I absolutely LOVED when Dr. Brown says in uncomfortable conversations she asks “Tell me more”…. OH MY WORD if only I used this more my life would be much richer and relationships with others and myself would probably grow tenfold! How can you understand someone else’s perspective and listen more in your relationships?
- What was your reaction to Viola Davis’s story?
- How can you own your mess more?
Thank you so much for being vulnerable with me! This book club experience has been so enriching for me. I hope you all are getting a ton out of it too! Start thinking of the next book we should go through and I’ll try to get Chapter 5 thoughts and questions up soon!