Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April: Finding Calm (Part One)

A few things have happened in April that have really stuck with me. In the midst of the To Do lists and the wedding planning, it has also been a month of major personal reflection. As the month wraps up, I thought it was worth putting some of my reflections out into the world.

First, I had the opportunity to live stream a talk from Brene Brown that was given at a professional conference that many of my colleagues had the opportunity to attend. I have been a huge Brene Brown fan for some time.

I saw her TED Talks at some point in the last year or so, and I devoured one of her books, Daring Greatly, this past December. I read it so fast, I think I highlighted (or e-highlighted, rather) almost every sentence. It was one of those reads where you find yourself saying out loud, "Yes. Yes. THIS. Yes." Awkward, as I read a good chunk of it in the airport. I'm reading one of her other books, The Gifts of Imperfection, now, and trying to take this one a bit slower. One chapter at a time.

During her talk to my colleagues, it was much the same. I wanted to write down every single word that she said. I doubt I was alone. I think many of us who work with students are sort of obsessed with her. You could hear the cheers in the crowd as she spoke about being excited to speak at the conference because we are "her people." It's totally true. We love her. We get her. She gets us.

Early in her speech she was talking about having a future college student and how she felt a bit better about her child attending because of our roles. As she pointed out "most people only know what you do in crisis." It's true. I love that she knows what we do beyond that, and values it. And that affirmation felt very important.

So many things she said about vulnerability, and compassion, and loving yourself, and joy have stuck with me:
  • "'I don't give a shit' is the safest way to go."
  • "If courage is your value, you're going to get your butt kicked."
  • "We are brave and afraid in the same moment every day."
  • "The minute you stop caring what people think, you lose the opportunity to connect."
  • "Joy is our best barometer for measuring our vulnerability."
  • "We share stories with those who have earned the right to hear them."
She said some really thought provoking things about our work with students too. And how to help students understand the difference between belonging versus fitting in. To encourage them to be authentic, and understand that they should be seeking moments, memories, and shared experiences. That felt like the perfect tagline for Student Involvement, and what we are all about. Most memorably, she said we need to help students understand this: "What's worth doing even if I fail?"

I am still processing and reflecting on what I have read and what I heard from Brene. Attempting to soak it in, and to practice some self-forgiveness and self-love. To experience joy without rehearsing tragedy (I totally do that). And to let go of some of the things I use to measure my self worth and focus on being enough.

If you haven't checked out her work, I definitely recommend it. 

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