I know a lot of you are familiar with and follow self help expert, professor Brene Brown. Honestly I don’t really know much about her. I’ve tried watching her Ted Talk and I couldn’t finish it! She’s kind of off-putting to me for some reason, I think because she’s so blunt. Anyway Brene was on The Tonight Show, where she gave advice for surviving our current situation. I like what she said, but her delivery was somewhat off. Maybe I just need to give her a chance.
On how she’s quarantining
There are 12 of us quarantined between two houses, one in Austin and one in Houston, sisters, families. We got my mom out of assisted living last minute as they were closing the doors. So [we’ve] got a big crew.
On her plans for her commencement speech to University of Texas at Austin
I think everyone’s bullsh-t meter is really sensitive right now. I think it’s just straight talk. Take a look, here’s a big secret, adults are just winging it.
What is an FFT?
It’s a f’ing first time. It’s so helpful because there’s a process you can follow when you’re doing something for the first time. First times are super vulnerable. We get to a place in our lives where we don’t want to do anything that we’re not already good at doing. We don’t want to suck at something. Unfortunately that muscle that we use when we do first things is the lifeblood, it’s the secret sauce to life. That discomfort, that cringiness.
The three things that are super helpful is: name it, take perspective – this is going to end at some point, this is not going to last forever – [and] check expectations – nothing is going to go like we have planned.
What do you say to someone who asks what is going to happen?
I know for sure that we will have a huge opportunity to be better than we were before we went into [this]. A crisis like this shines a light on fault lines in our communities, in our families, in our country, in our services. We’re seeing disproportionately affected people. We’ll have an opportunity to be better. We’re stronger than we think.
I side eye her a little for traveling between her two homes with her entire extended family, but I get why she did that. She surely also helped her mom by getting her out of the assisted living facility. I really like her three part plan for learning something new, and I appreciate how she extended that to the current reality – name what it is, get perspective on it and check your expectations. A lot of these self help experts are just repackaging different therapy recommendations into advice, which is useful. They make it more accessible. Lately I’ve been trying to use different things I’ve learned from rational emotive therapy, particularly trying to put things into perspective and not catastrophizing. It also helps to compare this time in quarantine to how I handled other tough situations. I think I’ve been through worse, but it all feels so unfamiliar and that’s what she’s saying about first times and being vulnerable.