A Decrease in “I” and “Me”

This year I am serving as President for the National Charity League, Inc. Tulsa Midtown Chapter (an incredible mother-daughter organization that has blessed both my Angel Girl and myself tremendously!).

Being the obsessive reader that I am, I decided to create a “One Board, One Book” study for my executive officers to read together, one chapter at a time over the summer and fall. The book I chose is Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown.

It is a phenomenal book, and so far my greatest challenges to reading it have been 1.) to NOT highlight nor underline every single word, and 2.) to read only the chapter assigned when I really, really want to buzz right through to the end.

This month we are reading Chapter 1, ‘Scarcity: Looking Inside Our Culture of “Never Enough”‘ which oddly enough goes hand-in-hand with the fictional story I read yesterday by Cecelia AhernThe Book of Tomorrow.

If you’ve read or watched PS, I Love You, then you are familiar with this adorable and uber-talented writer and her skill for engaging and not letting go until the final page. (I also LOVE If You Could See Me Now!!)

The Book of Tomorrow is about Tamara, a teenager who can best be illustrated by Brene’ Brown’s description of how many young people are perceived today:

  • Always me, me, me
  • Thinks she’s better than everyone and is always putting other people down
  • Self-absorbed, grandiose…only interested in power, success, beauty, and being special
  • So entitled that [she believes] that [she’s] superior even when [she’s] not really contributing or achieving anything of value

But as Ms. Brown goes on to explain in Chapter 1, Tamara is acting out against the world for much more heartbreaking reasons that are “underpinned by shame.”

Brene’ cautions against diagnosing and labeling “narcissism” as such behavior on our part is “normally served with a side of contempt, anger, and judgement.”  And she reminds us that “we don’t ‘fix it’ by cutting people down to size and reminding folks of their inadequacies and smallness.”

This part of the book immediately brought to mind how Coach – the most patient human I know – is always coaching with love, respect, and encouragement.  Whereas I am wayyyy too quick to form an opinion (i.e., judge others), he is a great listener, and his delay in assuming things about people allows him to see through the insecurities and vulnerabilities that they are carrying around with them.  He is able to see the world through different eyes and from varied viewpoints, empathize, and show compassion for past experiences and challenges which opens the door to the best relationships.

Luckily, Tamara has her own Coach in Sister Ignatius, someone who sees past her defenses and hatred, someone patient and compassionate to give her time and space to grow.  And within that growth, Tamara naturally develops a decrease in “I” and “me” while learning that her actions and behavior do have consequences:

“…it obviously depended on how I lived the day when I awoke. The future hadn’t been written yet. It was still in my hands.”

I could go on and on (you probably feel as though I already have), but I’ll stop so that you can enjoy both books for yourself.  Just know that when you get to page 25 of Daring Greatly, I have personally felt each and every “Never Enough” tape listed as well as many, many more, so if you, too, feel like Brene’ Brown is speaking directly to you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS: I have to share this pic…it’s a beautiful mom and her precious daughter also reading by the pool yesterday, together and without an electronic device in sight.  It warmed my heart tremendously ❤

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