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Brunch with Brené


Yesterday I was lucky to attend a church service at the Washington National Cathedral where Brené Brown delivered the sermon. It was followed by a forum, a conversation between Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde and Brené. (I feel like I know her well enough to just use her first name!)

It was a magical experience from the setting to the content. I took lots of notes and want to share some of what I heard and learned.

We tend to hang around with people who believe like us.

Brené referred to this as sorting into bunkers. These people think like us, and they hate the same groups of people that we do. We don’t even necessarily know or like these people, but we have “common enemy intimacy.” That is not true belonging.

Loneliness is a byproduct of sorting.

We don’t make real connections in our bunkers. In fact, loneliness is such a problem that on Jan. 17, UK Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a minister of loneliness. Studies found that loneliness can kill you, so if you feel this way, you aren’t alone.

The bunkers and the loneliness have led to a crisis of spiritual connection.

Brené purposely says this isn’t about religion; it’s about spirituality. She defines spirituality as “the deeply held belief that we are inextricably connected to each other by something that is greater than us and something that is rooted in love and compassion.” For her this is God. She says for others it could be fishing. For those who follow this blog, it could be art. It’s about a belonging that’s not in bunkers. It’s about a real connection with people that you know and don’t know.

True belonging is a practice.

It helps to set an intention when you are practicing. Staying in your belonging can be hard. It’s not about fitting in. It’s about your being present with other people without sacrificing who you are. We belong to ourselves, and that’s what you are practicing, vulnerability and uncomfortableness included.

7 elements of trust

Trust refers to trusting yourself and trusting others. Brené shared a checklist that works in both instances. It’s an acronym with the word BRAVING. The seven elements are boundaries; reliability; accountability; vault; integrity; nonjudgment; and generosity.

4 elements of true belonging

True belonging, being true to who we are, is a challenge. It requires you to stand alone, in a wilderness, as Brené says. She shares four elements, which she says are a paradox.

  1. People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In.
  2. Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil
  3. Hold Hands. With Strangers
  4. Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.

The sermon and the forum are available to hear on YouTube. Currently our ICAP Members’ Studio is reading Brené’s newest book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.

Your turn!

What do you understand about belonging and where do you find connections of belonging in your life?



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