Years ago I intuitively began to understand that for my extraverted personality type it was necessary to proactively plan and schedule fun in my calendar. Being the type of person that can easily focus on work, spending a great deal of time alone, (focus is one of my top five strengths) and finally looking up for from my easel, computer, or a client coaching session, to realize I’d gone long periods of time without social interaction and was feeling blue.
Instead of merely revering hard work, I recognized that in truly caring for my wellbeing, I was in fact responsible for planning fun and connection with others instead of hoping it would just roll in. I was responsible for fostering joy in my life.
I began to value this necessary nutrient, as if it were my vitamins. I began to understand that because of a need and value for connection, the way I conducted business needed to be relational too, or I was betraying my core values. It was then that I actually began to make changes in the way I thought about and conducted business. Thus, a long history of the groups I’ve started, facilitated, hosted or participated in!
Brown tells us, “The absence of love, belonging, and connection always leads to suffering.” The absence of these basic needs are prevalent in our society, manifesting through a kind of scarcity mentality that keeps one isolated, disengaged, shut down due to shame, and comparison. All of which lead to sadness and suffering. Awareness is the first step in making necessary changes for ones wellbeing.
Sometimes I’ve been more intentional than others about my need for fun and connection, but two years ago when I began training in Brenè Brown’s work I was delighted to discover Brown’s definition of Wholehearted Living, “Whole hearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.”
Where Can I Find Some Worthiness?
The interesting thing is that worthiness doesn’t just happen. Brown tells us that it must be cultivated. Hence, based on her research the ten Guidepost for Wholehearted Living defines what she calls a practice. Putting in place practice helps us, remember and reawaken to the innate worth and value already bestowed on every human life. Most of us could use that sort of awakening, which can't help but release joy into our being and joy is said to be the signature of a grounded life.
The two Guideposts that are very meaningful to me as an extravert and an artist and where I see many clients needing self-permission are: Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting go of exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth and Cultivating Creativity: Letting go of Comparison.
Our society esteems productivity as a banner of worth, yet worth is intrinsic and can’t be won by performance or production. Creativity is also intrinsic and yet as soon as one compares oneself to another the creative flow is thwarted.
In her latest bestseller, Rising Strong, Brown tells us that those who are able to rise strong amidst their struggles are the ones who have “developed practices that enable them to hold onto the belief that they are worthy of love, belonging, and even joy.” Practicing wholehearted living means, honoring ones needs, establishing boundaries to maintain them, and caring for ones wellbeing.
If you think that your productivity is a sign of your worth, your ability to push yourself to the limit, ignore your deep need for connection and belonging, you might be living from a place of scarcity, rather than wholehearted living. Take a moment to consider the ten Guideposts below.
What practices (not perfection) might you need to put in place for wholehearted living?
Guidepost for Wholehearted Living
- Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
- Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
- Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
- Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
- Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
- Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Comparison
- Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
- Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
- Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”
- Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”