Tag Archives: Brene Brown

Caring for the Caregivers: Six Tools for Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships – Episode #1

Building and maintaining positive relationships in your life, while working long hours at work and then taking care of family at home, is a huge challenge. In this episode learn the six tools (plus one bonus tool) that Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie use everyday with the important people in their lives.

Episode Time Codes


01:00 Introduction
02:35 Indrani shares the definition of a boundary and how to use this definition with people in your life.
05:40 Amy shares how to use empathy when listening.
09:48 Jeremie shares how to use 10 minute breaks to change roles in your life and be more present.
16:25 Indrani discusses how to identify when you are being triggered.
21:40 Amy explains the difference between being self-FULL and being selfish
26:47 Bonus tool: “What story am I making up about this?”
28:00 Jeremie asks the question: “Is what I am about to say or do going to improve this relationship?”
31:10 Summary of all six tools and the bonus tool

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

VIDEO: It’s not about the Nail
BOOK: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Should I Score YOUR story?

I make it a daily habit to go onto Facebook and examine the lives and experiences of the people in my community.  Although it’s part of my job as a social media specialist for Indrani’s Light Foundation to dive into social media about life events, on occasion, I have been guilty of “comparing” my story to other life stories.  I find stories in my community that make my story seem like a cakewalk…. meaning that I feel guilty for believing I have suffered in my life.

I begin to give my story a score, from 1 to 10.

score image

Let me give you an example ….

I suffer from PTSD syndrome due to a few events that happened to me in the past.  I face many triggers, sometimes on a daily basis …. sometimes in my dreams that show up as nightmares.  BUT, I feel guilty about sharing my story with others.  Why?  Because I may end up talking to someone who is currently fighting for their lives after being diagnosed with stage IV cancer, or someone who was brutally gang raped as a young woman, or a man who was locked in a coffin as a child to face his discipline, and was sexually abused by his orphan caretakers on a daily basis.  My story seems to pale in comparison to theirs.

“Based on these friends’ stories …. I give my own story a 3.”

Where did I learn that we, as humans need to measure our feelings? If our lives are not measured, then it doesn’t exist, right?

Here is where I get vulnerable.

Now, I also find myself, on occasion, judging others about their stories by comparing them to my own story.  Yes, I’m human.  Yes, I feel guilty about this, too.  When I read someone’s Facebook post that complains about their job, and how they don’t feel appreciated for their work.  My mind begins to wander with thoughts such as:

“Oh that’s a bummer {sarcastically}  Well, try losing your dream job because your newly promoted sexist, homophobic supervisor is on a mission to fire you from your 20 year career just because you are a gay woman, and causes you to file a federal law suit that will last for 4 ½ years …. and will eventually be settled out of court, and meanwhile you will never be able to return to your dream career because you have been “blacklisted” by other agencies.”

“Based on this friend’s “job” story … I give my story a 10.”

Have YOU been secretly scoring other people’s stories?  Are you brave enough to admit it?  Notice I am NOT scoring the other person’s story…. Just my own.  Should I give theirs a score?  Should I score YOUR story?

The answer to this question is a resounding, “NO!”

Comparing my life to others has been a daily journey, and I work at staying empathetic to everyone’s feelings and experiences.  Most of the time I battle with feelings around why I shouldn’t complain, or feel badly about ANYTHING in my life.

“There are children starving all over the world.”

“A parent just lost his child in a car accident.”

“Women are being raped and beaten every day.”

My story, and your story, should never be compared to any other story. Your stories, and the effect they have on your life should only be scored in relation to how they make YOU feel, not anyone else. If what you are experiencing right now is, for you, a 10 on the painful story scale, then that is true for you, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

I have learned a great deal from Indrani Goradia and Dr. Brené Brown about being vulnerable and speaking my truth.  I practice empathy on a daily basis, and I have compassion for peoples’ stories, at any level.  I have even arrived at, what Brené Brown calls, “excruciating vulnerability,” and have begun the process of “deconstructing shame.”  (Listen to Brené’s TED talk here).

I invite you to pursue this simple “Call to Action” right now.  Go to our website, and listen to the “Live-A-Brighter-Life” podcasts.  You can also find them on iTunes.  Within our teachings, we will give you the tools to help you reach out, speak your truth, and find shame resilience.  YOU are worthy.  YOU are loved.  YOU matter.

 

With love & light,

Amy Dier
Director of Education & Training | Indrani’s Light Foundation

 

Hope

sky-1107952_640According to C. R. Snyder, hope is the trilogy of goals, pathways and agency.

Brene Brown says, “Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our own abilities to act.”  In other words we choose to say something, do something and be something.

Aristotle says, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”

Lots of people who witness abuse choose this trilogy… Do nothing, say nothing, be invisible.

The Buddhist saying, “what we resist, persists” applies here as well. When we resist naming our hurts, when we resist new pathways out of the pain, when we resist claiming our agency… the old pains and stuckness of thought and deed will persist.

Snyder says that “hope is learned.”

If we did not learn hope in our families of origin we must teach it to ourselves as we age and mature. We must, it is not an option.

Brene Brown says, “We have to resist and unlearn old habits and the tendency to give up when things get tough.”

I know I have quoted everyone here, but they say it so much better than I ever could.

I would love to know:

What old habit or hurt do you need to unlearn in your life so you can teach yourself hope?

 

Love and light,
Indrani

I am an activist to end violence against women: Part 2

In Part I of this blog series, I left off with how Indrani Goradia, and the work of Brené Brown changed my life and launched me into the world as an activist. Who knew I could be an activist? Did I really know what it meant to be an “activist.” So first, let’s define the word, “activist.”

“Activist

An activist is a person who campaigns for some kind of social change. When you participate in a march protesting the closing of a neighborhood library, you’re an activist. Someone who’s actively involved in a protest or a political or social cause can be called an activist.

I don’t know about you, but this is a strong word for me that holds a lot of power and responsibility in the world. I was scared and felt vulnerable to even admit that this word was calling me. Who am I to be an activist? What can I offer the world that can help hundreds, thousands, or even millions of women around the globe. Or, who am I, to help just ONE woman? Well, here are the answers to my questions…. I am worthy, I am loved, and I matter.

Do something for me right now. It’s a very quick exercise. Say out loud, “I am worthy, I am loved, and I matter.”

What feeling, or feelings came up for you when you said those words? I can share with you that I was barely able to get those words out of my mouth, and I definitely felt uncomfortable, and incapable of loving myself. I asked myself, “Where in the hell did this come from?” I love people, I love to serve, I love to take care of others, so why didn’t I give a damn about myself?

amy indraniThis is where Indrani Goradia entered my life in September of 2013. I was at Andrea J. Lee’s, Wealthy Thought Leader Conference in Baltimore, MD ….. and Indrani appeared on the big screen with a personal video message for all of us who were seeking to help end gender based violence. Now, due to my training and experience as a police officer, it was difficult to get me physically or emotionally excited about things. I was good at keeping my feelings hidden, and I certainly didn’t cry unless I absolutely had to. But when I saw Indrani’s face, heard the passion in her voice, and listened to the “call to action,” my heart started to beat rapidly …. I had that fluttering feeling in my chest, and my hands started to sweat. I tried to hold back the tears welling up in my eyes, but they began to stream down my cheeks. It was then I knew Indrani’s Light Foundation was in my future … I just didn’t know when, or how.

10272679_10152456770534048_8792785988925842137_oFast forwarding to 2014, I decided to listen to my inner warrior and become involved with ILF. I signed up and participated in the Live-A-Brighter-Life teleconference class that spring. I was so impacted by the curriculum that I was the first person to sign up for the 2014 Train-the-Trainer Course in Austin, TX.   I became a certified ILF Trainer, and started teaching the workshops to my own community in Portland, OR.

In the Live-A-Brighter-Life curriculum, Indrani includes the work of Dr. Brené Brown. This is where everything shifted for me around my guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment with being a rape survivor, a victim of discrimination, and my bankruptcy. THERE it was all along! “SHAME.” I realized before I could be an activist to end violence against women in the world, I had to practice the four elements of shame resilience that Indrani teaches in her Live-A-Brighter-Life workshop. Brené Brown tells us we need to:

  • Recognize our shame and understand its triggers
  • Practice critical awareness
  • Reach out and connect with people, and own your story
  • And speak about your shame, while asking people what you need from them

Are you asking yourself how YOU can start practicing these things, and begin the journey of healing? Well maybe the “Readers Digest” version of my life story can help you put a plan together and start your work as an activist for women.

Part 3 of this guest blog series is on its way. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you and the feelings that came up for you while you were reading this blog. There is no shame or judgment here. You can begin your journey of healing right now.

 

With deepest gratitude,

 

Amy Dier
Director of Education & Training

 

 

 

 

 

I am an activist to end violence against women: Part I

UntitledI’ve always had a passion for helping women who have suffered abuse of any kind.  Why did I choose this particular passion?  I am a rape survivor.  As a young teenager, I fell victim to an older teenager who preyed upon my kindness of wanting to help him with his “demons” by inviting him to church.  He disappeared after the rape, and I chose not to report the rape to police, or my parents for many heart-wrenching reasons.  I told my best friend at the time, but my nightmares only seemed to get worse.

I did, however, make sure I got into the front seat of a police car as a police cadet soon after I was raped.  I felt safe, and I believed I could help other girls and women if I was a police officer.

As a police officer, I made every effort to handle the domestic violence calls, the reports of Untitledrape, sex abuse, or teenage girls who were being abused by their parent or guardian.  I investigated every case with a fine tooth comb, dotted every “i,” crossed every “t,” and wanted justice for girls and women who cried out for help.

What I COULDN’T do in my 20 years in law enforcement, was advocate for the girls and women who DID NOT, or COULD NOT seek help.  Police officers must remain objective, and are ethically held by the rules of law.  I did what I could to encourage these women and girls to report their abusers, but that was the extent of my power.

UntitledAfter 20 years in law enforcement, I became a private investigator, and working criminal defense cases came with this territory.  After being a defense investigator during these abuse cases, I became acutely aware of both sides of the stories.  After interviewing and representing multiple “alleged” abusers, many of them told me their family history, the abuse they, themselves, suffered as children, and the demons they fought for most of their lives.  Many of these men admitted their guilt and asked for help.  Other abusive men admitted their guilt, but showed no remorse, and believed the woman “deserved what she got.”

UntitledNow that I’m retired from law enforcement and private investigations, I was left with confusing thoughts, beliefs, and judgments, with no clear answer of why men are so abusive to women in our world.  The latest statistic from the United Nations is that 1 out of every 3 women will suffer abuse on this planet.  This is a staggering pandemic.  This means that YOU, or someone you know … a sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, best friend, or daughter ….. has suffered some form of abuse.  Maybe you are the abuser? Maybe you were a victim of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse as a child? Or maybe you are being abused now. Where do you go for help?  Who do you trust?

In the next “Part 2” blog series, I will share how Indrani Goradia, Indrani’s Light Foundation, and Brené Brown came into play for me.  Meanwhile, I’m feeling vulnerable about sharing my story this way, so I’d love some feedback about how this blog is resonating with you.   Do you have a similar story?  Do you have mixed feelings about becoming an activist?  Tell me your thoughts.

 

With deepest gratitude,

Amy
Director of Education & Training
Indrani’s Light Foundation

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Dr. Brene Brown and the Daring Way Survey….

relax-569318_1280I am very fortunate to belong to a community of practitioners called the Daring Way™.

I got here the hard way, by doing the classes from Dr. Brene Brown and taking tests and following their rules and guidelines.

It was a lot of work and I loved every step of the way.

I was very happy to participate in a research survey that the community sent out a while ago and decided that I should do my part to further along the research that is the foundation of her amazing books and teachings.

So I logged in a began.

It was long, I was getting a little tired of it and considered not finishing but then something about the answers that I was giving really hit me hard.

A lot of the questions were about my feelings of worth and whether I felt my life was going anywhere and also, did I frequently compare myself to others?

Half way through the survey it occurred to me that my answers to statements like “I do not like myself” or like “when I think of my accomplishments I feel I have done less than others” ( I did not pull these from the survey, they simply reflect the sentiments from the survey), I found myself answering almost never.

What did this mean?

Simply put, it means this:

  1. I liked myself.
  2. I feel accomplished by any ones standards.

This occurred to me about half way through the survey THEN I was pumped to complete it.

I even told myself to BE HONEST, that Brene wanted honesty so I reread the stuff I had answered and carefully answered the rest…

And what do you know?!

I actually like myself and I actually feel good about what I am doing and feel good about being able to laugh at my mistakes and do not allow others to determine what I think of myself.

This is NOT at all reflective of how I felt just 10 years ago.

As recently as 2005, I was still comparing myself to others, beating myself up for not being up to par or not as good as almost everyone else in the my world. I was not a good enough coach, or writer, or business person, or mother or, or or. The list went one forever.

Also I was always catastrophizing. If one thing went wrong, it meant everything else was going to go wrong. If someone disappointed me, it meant I would be doomed to a lifetime of disappointments.

It was quite exhausting to live this way. I knew no way out.

I put on a great show of being outwardly confident but I was always on the look out for evidence that I was not good enough.

The evidence always came.

It came in the form of people’s words about my life choices (I was a bad mom because I was pursuing a new dream) or in the form of a societal or cultural message
(You are traveling too much. Who takes care of your home? One family member even asked who cooked food for my husband.)

The evidence was ALL around me.

I had to really close my ears and eyes to all the messages I was hearing. All the nay saying that was trying to get into my psyche.

I even had to listen to close friends and family tell me how silly and unrealistic my dream of doing something about ending violence in the world was.

After all, I did not have a degree in psychology, or any experience in the real world. I never worked at a not-for-profit nor had I had a job in the last 25 years!

Yes, they were lined up to tell me the way I was living was not acceptable to them, not at all.

I had to be deaf and blind to those voices all around me and to try to tune into the voices within my own heart.

The inner KNOWINGS that I wanted to do more, be more than a housewife (I had done that for 20 years) and I wanted to create change in my world.

I saw that survey as a way to go back into my past and to tell the younger me that she would be fine!

I gave her examples of the questions that would have brought her to tears just a few years before, those same questions that now brought a huge smile to her face, warmth to her heart and ONE single sweet tear to her eye.

The tear of clarity.

The tear that acted like a magnifying glass through which she saw herself in all of the accomplishments and all the experiences and all the loving people surrounding her.

I sent my younger self blessings and thanks for not ever giving up and always finding ways to burn off the fog of unworthiness and shame.

Thank you Dr. Brene Brown. You may still be collecting your data, but you have already shown me my results.

Daring greatly, rising strong and thanking you,

Indrani
A grateful student.

Brighter Life Bit #21: Moving from shame to humiliation or embarrassment

ILF_Wtagline_LogoYou can listen to the original teaching at the 25 minute mark of the Class 3 recording. You can download the audio from iTunes here or from the ILF website here.

In some situations you may not be able to replace your feelings of shame with guilt. In these moments, guilt may not be the appropriate emotion, but what about humiliation and embarrassment?

Humiliation is a feeling that stems from an experience that causes you to lose your prestige, standing, or self-respect. Humiliation says “I didn’t deserve this.”

Embarrassment is a feeling that stems from an experience that causes you to lose your composure, usually due to bad judgement or vulnerability. It is a more fleeting sense of discomfort. Embarrassment says “one day this will be funny.”

Shame says “I am bad
Guilt says “I have done something bad
Humiliation says “I didn’t deserve this
Embarrassment says “one day this will be funny

Using these four definitions:

  1. Think of a time when you have experienced shame.
  2. Ask yourself: Which definition (guilt, humiliation, embarrassment) do I choose to replace shame with?
  3. How are you different once you reframe the shame you felt?

You can choose to not feel shame. If, instead, you can live these definitions in life you can choose what you feel and choose a better description.

Share your experience with shifting from shame to guilt, humiliation, or embarrassment in the comments below:

Brighter Life Bit #20: Moving from shame to guilt

ILF_Wtagline_LogoYou can listen to the original teaching at the 25 minute mark of the Class 3 recording. You can download the audio from iTunes here or from the ILF website here.

What if you are not actually experiencing shame?

Shame says “I am bad,” leading you to feeling powerless and invisible.

But what if what you are actually experiencing is guilt?

Guilt says “I have done something bad

This is a big difference. Shame makes you believe that you, as a person, are bad, while guilt shows the truth of the situation: you are a good person who has, at this certain point in time, done something bad.

Guilt can be a healthy emotion when used constructively to hold you accountable to the person you want to be. Guilt can guide you to see that you have done something bad, so you can make a commitment to not repeat the action.

Replacing shame with guilt, moving from “I am bad” to “I have done something bad” can guide you towards making positive change in your life.

In order to better understand guilt and how to replace shame with guilt you can:

  1. Write down some of your own reasons for feeling personal guilt.
  2. Write down times in your life when you have felt shame.
  3. Compare your “guilt list” to your “shame list.” Can you shift some of these shame experiences into guilt experiences?

What opens up for you as you make this shift from “I am bad” to “I have done something bad” Share your thoughts below:

Brighter Life Bit #19: Shame and expectations

ILF_Wtagline_LogoYou can listen to the original teaching at the 11 minute mark of the Class 3 recording. You can download the audio from iTunes here or from the ILF website here.

In the last Brighter Life Bit you made a list of the different shame categories (the who, and what that cause you shame). The next question to ask is “why do these people and things cause me to feel shame?

The answer is: Expectations.

The expectations of who you are supposed to be and how you are supposed to be compared to who you want to be and how you want to be.

Look over the different people, events, and things that you wrote down as triggering your feelings of shame, and beside each write down the expectation you are supposed to meet for each of these triggers:

  • Body image – I need to look like the magazine model
  • Money – I need to make more than $X
  • Teachers- you need to get more than 70% to be successful
  • Family – you need to take care of us, not yourself

To understand your feelings of shame you need to name it, and recognize that you are experiencing shame. Speaking (or writing) these expectations into the world is a big step towards changing how shame affects your life.

You can bring your own shame triggers, and the underlying expectations into the world by sharing them with the ILF community in the comments below…

Brighter Life Bit #18: Who and What causes you to feel Shame?

ILF_Wtagline_LogoYou can listen to the original teaching at the 3 minute mark of the Class 3 recording. You can download the audio from iTunes here or from the ILF website here.

Brene Brown defines shame as:

“an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”

Or, to put it even more succinctly:

“Shame says, ‘I am bad’.”

In what situations are you telling yourself “I am bad?”

What people in your life make you think “I am bad?”

Understanding the situations and people in your life that trigger thoughts of shame is an important step in building your shame resilience (we will discuss this more in the Class #4 Brighter Life Bits).

Take some time now to write out a list of the “what’s” and “who’s” that trigger feelings of “I am bad” in your life.

Then, you can share some of your list in the comments section below.