“Daring greatly” by Brene Brown

Monday, February 13, 2017

When a Clinical Psychologist recommends you a book, you better be prepared for your world to wreck open. 

Hazel introduced me to this book “Daring greatly” by Brene Brown and honestly speaking, it wasn’t an easy read. Almost every sentence speaks of something that I refuse to acknowledge, or at least was trying to ignore.

I’ve also been trying to put this off, not wanting to go through the book again and deceiving myself that I actually have nothing concrete to share from this book. But as I forced myself to go through those pages again, I realised, there’s a lot in my mind.

So let’s get started.

“Connection is why we’re here. We are hard-wired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”

I think in this context, "connection" can loosely be translated or understood as "relationship". Something that I hate and avoid the most. I always believed that if relationships is a subject, I’ll definitely fail in it. I never know how to cultivate or maintain relationships. Most of the time I feel awkward, ashamed and fearful.

“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the corner, the centre, of meaningful human experience.”

Oyan once said that I can tell easily when I’m not being myself because I am too comfortable being myself. She said that’s the reason why I get cranky and frustrated when situations demand me to pretend to be someone else. But I am at this very awkward position where I want to be myself and show the world who I really am but yet at the same time also very afraid that I am not good enough, or even perfect enough because so many people have commented on my behaviour and my actions just because mine are different and so much so it hit my core and fear took over. I choose to be aside instead of being a part.

“Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, knowing that I am enough.”

Because I took those reactions as an evaluation of my value as a human, I dare not risks and played it safe. If no one knows me truly, they couldn’t evaluate me. But that is not how we live life. I know I shouldn’t be reminiscing the past, but I’ve experienced the true freedom of being myself, living wholeheartedly without hanging my value on people’s opinion when I was still working in an NGO. I had that courage to be vulnerable and to be seen as who I am because I didn’t give a damn about what other thinks about me. Even they disapprove of me or disagree with me, I know my value and I knew I was enough. I wasn’t afraid to be seen in my nakedness and imperfection. I had a taste of what it is like to live wholeheartedly.

“Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feeling. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotion life out of a fear that the cost will be to high is to walk away from the very things that gives purpose and meaning to living.”

One of my favourite words is "paradox". Because I believe this word describes perfectly about life. We are so afraid of getting hurt by being out there as ourselves and get “killed” so we hide thinking that it will keep us alive. But ironically the act of trying to save ourselves is what truly killing us inside.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

After reading the book, I couldn’t help but wondered if our society today have replaced this sort of courage with adventures such as sky-diving and etc. The pure thrill of being afraid and conquering our own fear of jumping out of a plane makes us so alive. And I wonder if we are able to be vulnerable and let ourselves be seen, do we still need those adventures just to feel alive? 

“Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”

This is one prayer I’ll pray every day for the rest of my life.

To be continued...

The Roseto Effect

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I was doing some little research for my boss this week on The Roseto Effect and I personally find it super interesting as well!

So basically, The Roseto effect is named after the town Roseto, Pennsylvania. A doctor, Dr. Steve Wolf went there and realize that the rate of heart diseases of that town was 50% lower and he decided to find out why.

So they collected the data they needed and begun their research. At first, they thought it was their diet that makes the difference but as they dug deeper, they found out that these Rosetans have a very unhealthy lifestyle! Totally the opposite of what we usually read health experts. They smoke, drink a little too much wine and they eat a lot of fats! They break every rule in the rule book but still live longer than others.

Dr. Steve Wolf even compared Roseto data with other neighboring township with the idea that it may be the natural resources such as water and soil that make this significant reduce of heart diseases. But the result turned out negative.

Amazing isn’t?

What they finally concluded was this, the Rosetans are nurtured by themselves. In other words, the people are nurtured by people. 

The Rosetans have a culture and environment that is no longer common nowadays. They are very close as a community. Meals are shared, people are helping each other and they know each other as well. Not only that, each household lived 3 generations! The older generation is not regarded as irrelevant but was appreciated for their wisdom and age.

It was said that because of the close relationship and community that they have, it leaves no room for individual to be overwhelmed by everyday problem by themselves. Instead, the support of a group of people reduces that stress which is often the number one cause of heart diseases.

One thing I like the most about The Rosetans is this, they do not flash wealth! And I thought this was amazing! They do not know who is wealthier than the other because everyone’s houses and cars are about the same. There isn’t any pressure or stress because of comparison. I can’t help but wondered if social media had led us to compare with others when everyone is flashing what they have on the internet. 

Back to The Roseto effect, when they were conducting this research back in the late 1960s, they predicted that this phenomenon will not last any longer because the younger generation is not contented with the tradition uphold. Soon enough, people started building bigger houses and fencing it up, have big cars and the pursuit of wealth took over. The bond between the Rosetans started to break and lo and behold, their rate of heart diseases soar up.

WOW! Isn’t amazing to see such a direct relationship between our physical health with our mental health that is highly depended on our relationships and community. 

I always call myself a loner because I really enjoy being alone. But looking at this, makes me think twice whether it is necessary for me to make an effort to make a difference in my social life. I think, not only I should be more friendly and open up my comfort zone, I also need to be super selective of the people I hang out with. If I hang out with people that keep comparing me with others than it wouldn’t be helpful kan? 

I found a quote by Edward Gibbon, which I really really love!

”In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life; and, in their quest for it all, security, comfort, freedom, they lost it all. When what the Athenians wanted finally was not to give to society but for society to give to them; when the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then Athenians ceased to be free." 

I really love what I’m doing now! To read on stuff like this and also doing it with people who are of the right influence! 

First week of 2017 had been overwhelmingly gracious to me! :)