Last week I ferociously read Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly (no affiliation with Amazon). I don’t usually read books quickly. In fact, I read rather slowly. I like to spend weeks reading a few pages here and there of a great book. It isn’t often that I find a book that I can’t stop reading. Daring Greatly was one of those books.
I first heard of Brené Brown when I saw her on OWN’s Super Soul Sunday. As I was watching the show, I downloaded her book to my Nook (isn’t technology great?) because I was so interested in her research. Dr. Brown is a researcher who has spent her career talking and interviewing people from all walks of life. If you haven’t seen her TEDxHouston talk, I highly recommend it.
I read the book cover to cover in two days and now I’m re-reading parts of it. There were many part parts of this book that hit home and I could talk about them for days. There will definitely be more posts on this book. For now, I want to talk about numbing.
This is an excerpt from part on the numbing. You can see where I highlighted “We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
That sentence alone makes me feel all weepy.
Dr. Brown talks about how numbing is something we ALL do. Some of us numb compulsively and habitually which happens in the cases of drug and alcohol addition but we all numb our sense of vulnerability to some degree. We numb with a glass of wine, watching endless hours of tv, long work weeks, brownies, fantasy football, prescription pills, and caffeine. She states that “numbing vulnerability is especially debilitating because it doesn’t just deaden the pain of our difficult experiences; numbing vulnerability also dulls our experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy.”
I’m definitely a numb-aholic. Reading this section of the book made me see parts of my life through a clearer lens. I thought back to high-school when I would come home from school and the snacking and television watching would go on for hours. I spent my entire afternoon from the time I got home until dinner, snacking and watching tv. Bagel Bites and TRL were my “drug” of choice. This is something I still do to this day. Except now I come home from work, have some wine, make dinner, drink more wine, watch Bravo for three hours, eat two bowls of ice cream, and mindlessly scroll through twitter/facebook/feedly/tumblr. I’m numbing the heck out of my evening.
Her research indicated that our need for numbing comes from shame, anxiety, and disconnection. Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes. Triple yeses from this kid. After reading Daring Greatly, I’ve become very aware of my numbing tendencies. I’ve been trying this past week to catch myself in the habit of numbing (like reading through my Facebook newsfeed on my phone as I’m trying to fall asleep) and break the numbing task immediately. I’ve talked about unfollowing and getting rid of the noise and I think being aware of my numbing will really help this process. I look forward to releasing my numbing tendencies from my life and living a more wholehearted life.
Numbing out! (meant to be said like “Seacrest out!”).