"If we have goals and dreams and we want to do our best, and if we love people and we don’t want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel pain when things go wrong. The point isn’t to live without any regrets, the point is to not hate ourselves for having them… We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create, and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly — it reminds us that we know we can do better.” ~Kathryn Shulz
I'm reading Brene Brown's new book Daring Greatly these days. With this book Brene is looking at the role of vulnerability in living a whole hearted life. I couldn't wait for this book after hearing Brene speak at the World Domination Summit this year. That experience is something I still have to write about and I will as it continues to echo through my life. Back to Brene. Brene's premise is that to live a rich full life, we have to be willing to be vulnerable, to step out of our comfort zone, to be exposed as the socially awkward uncool person we believe we are, in order to make the authentic connections, to really engage in a full life, to dare greatly. I'll be joining her read along as I find her books makes me squirm and I think being in community while reading will ironically help me feel less vulnerable.
You've likely already seen her Ted talk on vulnerability. If not, stop reading and go watch it now. As I was just beginning Daring Greatly, I happened upon this Ted talk by Kathryn Schulz speaking of regrets.
I've been pondering regret and I've concluded perhaps it is the sibling of shame and the occasional unavoidable byproduct of stepping into vulnerability to live a courageous life. Since hearing Brene speak, I've consciously tried to lean into vulnerability, asking the artist painting in the cafe about the vintage brush and ink pot she's using, discussing with the wood carver where he sources the wood he uses for his beautiful creations, smiling at the people I don't know but who I pass daily in my building, having a conversation with my seat mate on the train instead of reading my email, saying yes to opportunities I would normally shy away from, having the really difficulty conversation with someone I love. There have been awkward moments, small regrets, but in reality they have been few. On the whole, my life has been enriched. I feel the discomfort melting just a touch, a welcome change. What I didn't expect though is this feeling of my life being a rich banquet, just waiting for me to step forward, an adventure I can engage in fully and my fear of the imagined catastrophe is beginning to fade.