Taking Courage


I’m a dedicated observer of human behavior. I don’t do anything about that other than make the occasional comment. I’m not a counselor, I’m not particularly concerned about changing people’s behaviour except perhaps where their actions or words affect me. But I will often observe what people do and and give some thought to why they may have acted that way or why that pattern exists in their repertoire…

Someone else who observes behaviour and goes further into discussing and writing about such things is social researcher Brené Brown. I came across her not long after her famous Tedx Houston talk took the Internet by storm (see below) and I’m posting her follow up video as well, because it is equally life changing. If you haven’t come across them before I strongly urge you to watch them.

Brené takes on issues of shame and vulnerability and advocates living life wholeheartedly and courageously, giving insight into why westerners are so addicted, medicated, overweight and miserable. She talks about why we try and numb our pain, and in doing so completely numb joy and all that’s good, as well. She talks about why we live always expecting the hammer to fall, and why we feel undeserving and unworthy.

I don’t pretend to have appropriated all of her thoughts but I am (for the most part) pretty together. I’ve made some unusually old fashioned choices (for this day and age) about how I live and while sometimes those decisions are restrictive, to be honest, they’ve set me in good stead in terms of my self esteem and the ability to live comfortably in my own skin.

Why am I sharing this stuff? Well, in recent months I’ve observed a dear friend make some radical, life changing decisions that are taking her into a whole new life, one without shame, fear, intimidation and one in which she can actually start to get in touch with her true self and it’s utterly beautiful to watch.  It hasn’t come without a price but what I’ve seen is someone having the courage to step out, to be vulnerable and to take back life with both hands. I’ve introduced her to Brené and she was inspired. I hope, if this is the first time you’ve met her and heard her speak you’ll feel the same.


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  1. says

    Hi Dee,

    Thanks so much for sharing these. Really useful talks. I can already think of more than a handful of people who would love to hear them. I wish I’d heard this sort of thing when I was a student 14 years ago. It was a long, hard lesson that I’m still learning. Recently I’ve been thinking confidence is partly about not caring how things go, but that doesn’t really work, because I do care. The difference that adding vulnerablility into the mix makes is huge, particularly when I give myself permission to be wrong and it not to be a judgement on who I am.
    So, thank you again!

    • Dee says

      Thanks for the comment Liz, I think confidence is less about caring about how things go and actually about caring less what people think. To quote a great master (Yoda) Do, or Do Not, there is no Try… So Do things.. whether they succeed or fail they all have value, and stepping out to do it again is a lot easier if you aren’t worried about appearances. So yes, you’re right, give yourself permission to be wrong, and separate that from your self worth. It’s so LIBERATING.