Illustration by Peter Gehrman
The first time I watched Brené Brown's The Call to Courage special on Netflix, I experienced a range of emotions. I told myself I would write a blog post about this really important topic that I know a lot of scholars, students, and professionals face.... that was July 2021.
Today is January 17, 2023 and I've finally found the courage to say what I've been wanting to say for over a year.....
"Having the courage to show up, when you can't control the outcome."
What does it take to actually put yourself out there on center stage? What does it take to bring people into your world? What does it feel like to be seen and (dare I say) accepted in your authenticity? What does it take to give yourself permission to live and speak your truth? What does it take?
"Vulnerability is the bridge between hearts, the way back to center." In watching Brené's special, I battled with what it means to be brave, to have courage, to be vulnerable, to be authentic. Am I actually living my life if I play it safe? Or would it be more transformative if I spoke my truth to the masses?
It's taken years of positive self talks and mirror work to allow myself to continue speaking my truth. But what would people say about you now? You can't say that, you have your Masters Degree in Public Health... you can't say "those things"... these thoughts continue to run rampant in my mind. But you're so much more than your degree, Chérie!
I go through graduate school
I feel judged based on my interests and ideologies
I feel opposition instead of compassion and presence
I am told "maybe you'll find other interests"
"If it's not proven through rigorous research, it can't be..."
I feel isolated. But what about what I know to be true? What about what I've seen with my own eyes?
I try to find ways to still speak but make it "fit in" to academia
I graduate with my MPH in 2021.
It's a whole new world.
I stop blogging.
I'm not sure what to do next.
I know my purpose, but how do I "fit in" to this world?
"What we put on to validate our knowledge in the face of opposition."
Brené's special covered a lot of things, but this portion of her special really hit home.
The beauty of a story is that two people can read the same page and draw different perspectives from that page that align with their respective beliefs and understandings. Then, with genuine curiosity, those same two people can explore each other's perspectives with openness -- not disdain. Some scholars call "interpreting new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories" confirmation bias, but I call it innerstanding, unity, oneness. Imagine, sharing your perspectives, research, and beliefs with others who then share their own beliefs and it’s met with love and openness. That has the potential to be a synergistic experience. When differing perspectives are shared without judgment it creates fertile ground for transformation.
Instead of toting p-values and double-blind studies, what if we led with open hearts and minds first? What if we used reason and critical thinking to lead, instead of blindly following? What if we allowed for vulnerability and cultivated space for honest, respectful dialogue?
Academia is so much about validation and so little about oneness. We get degrees and certificates to validate what we already know we're good at. Instead of just being the thing we're good at. We need to be seen as reliable. We don't truly believe in ourselves unless we're told we're worthy after we receive x-y-z accolade *cues imposter syndrome.*
I can talk about it because I’ve been there, time and time again… until I said enough is enough. I have nothing to prove to no one but the Most High!
The system is here to program us to follow, not lead. To think outside the box, but not too far. To never question authority. To think critically only on certain subjects, not all. To only ask some questions, well-crafted and articulate. Or else... you get thrown into this bucket of "conspiracy theorist, quack, misinformed," the list goes on.
Denying oneself is denying one's identity and uniqueness. Who are you? Our minds are not all supposed to think the same way and agree to the same things. We have to be brave and allow ourselves to see all sides of the story. According to Brené, fitting in is the opposite of belonging. Fitting in is assessing then assimilating. In fitting in, you lose yourself and the essence of what makes you who you are.
"True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are. Belonging is first belonging to yourself, speaking your truth, telling your story, never betraying yourself for others."
We are all meant to be different and have differing perspectives. We are all gifted with uniqueness, that when brought together, can create a bliss full experience for us all. We are all parts of the whole.
I'll leave you with this quote by Marianne Williamson ~
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
I recommend watching Brené Brown's Netflix Special: The Call to Courage and reflecting on your own experience. It's okay to tell it as is without research or anything to validate you. It's okay to tell your story as is. Remember, wining is doing the brave thing! So show up, be courageous, be vulnerable, be brave. 💚
If you made it this far, drop a green heart in the comments below. Thank you for being here & thank you for listening. I appreciate you.
Hello world! I am Chérie Jade, I am passionate about promoting a holistic lifestyle and encouraging preventative practices for day to day healthy living.