Tiny Oranges Book Club discussion

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Chapter 1 Questions > It's How We're Wired

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message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen | 39 comments Mod
On page 6, when talking about how we are wired to share our stories of struggle, she states, "We do this because we feel most alive when we're connecting with others and being brave with our stories - it's in our biology." If we are so wired to tell our stories and connect with others through sharing our struggles, why do you think so many people try so hard to hide their vulnerabilities?


message 2: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 8 comments First, Jen, thanks so much for your willingness to go in the arena with this on-line book club. You are definitely a badass in my eyes!

Is it in our biology to tell our stories of failure and mistake? I am a huge proponent of talk therapy, and know that wonderful joyful feeling of having a weight lifted off during a therapy session. When I’m in a safe space, I do feel lots better when I can talk about my fears and failures. But does that mean it’s part of my cellular make-up to want to confess easily and effortlessly?

Often I don’t feel safe and would prefer to hide my vulnerabilities. It doesn’t feel like self-care to open up myself up to judgment and criticism. Isn’t that need for protecting ourselves emotionally part of our humanness, too? I’m grateful to have people in my life who provide a safe place when I need to talk. But in my humble opinion, there are a lot of folks who can’t find that safe harbor.


message 3: by Jen (new)

Jen | 39 comments Mod
Kristin wrote: "First, Jen, thanks so much for your willingness to go in the arena with this on-line book club. You are definitely a badass in my eyes!

Is it in our biology to tell our stories of failure and mist..."


I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it feels like self-care to NOT open yourself to judgment and criticism.

Or, maybe more like self-preservation. Where we will do anything to avoid potential pain or discomfort. If we hide our truths, shame or vulnerabilities, we protect ourselves.

But why do we care so much about what other people think of us? I cared a lot about that for many, many years. People pleaser to the MAX. But I do feel with age, especially since turning 40, I am being more and more open in sharing my struggles.

Because there really is nothing that makes me feel more connected to another person than when hearing someone share theirs - I truly feel the spiritual interconnectedness like she talked about during these times.

If we all let our guard down, and shared more openly, how would that change our relationships? A lot I believe.


message 4: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 8 comments I’d like to revisit this one again, Jen, looking at your question; If we did share more openly and did let down our guard down more often, how would that change our relationships? I assume that it could open up the dialog and deepen the connection – good things, obviously. But then I go back to thinking about the need for self-care.

One of the things that pushes all my buttons is receiving unsolicited advice. Maybe I don’t tell my story because I don’t want to hear someone (especially a loved one) tell me what I should do. And maybe that’s an area where I need to practice to courage. You think? 

Is this just a matter of skillful communications? How does this come in to play with parenting? How do you teach your kids what and how to share – especially their vulnerabilities?


message 5: by Angie (new)

Angie Kendall McCunniff | 6 comments Kristin, I like your question about kids and how to teach them to be vulnerable.
On page 4 Brown explains that "vulnerability is not weakness; it is our greatest measure of courage." I think we need to actually believe this, and then pass that belief on to our children.
I am not sure if our generation was really taught that there is courage in vulnerability. So, it is our duty to model vulnerable behavior for our kids.
In the intro, Brown gave an example of a parent saying aloud:
"Our family is really hurting right now. We could really use your support."
I think kids need to HEAR us saying things like that.
This is really something I can work on.
I am practicing vulnerability in my private life, but I am not sure I display vulnerability in front of my children enough.
It's a fine line I think. Kids need to be able to count on their parents. They need their parents to be consistent, steadfast, and emotionally grounded.
But it is important to be human too!


message 6: by Jen (new)

Jen | 39 comments Mod
Angie wrote: "Kristin, I like your question about kids and how to teach them to be vulnerable.
On page 4 Brown explains that "vulnerability is not weakness; it is our greatest measure of courage." I think we nee..."


Angie, just had a huge aha moment right now. I am the same. Working on my personal vulnerability but not completely convinced I am modeling that to my kids. AS a mom we want to feel that we ALWAYS have things handled. But that is not always the case as we know. Thanks for that, made me really think...


message 7: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 8 comments Thanks so much for feedback. This has definitely given me good food for thought.


message 8: by Christie (new)

Christie (christievalenzona) | 8 comments Hi ladies, I'm a bit late to the dialogue but loving this topic and wanted to jump in. I agree that it's so important for us to model vulnerability for our kids. It feels like such a fine line most of the time- between providing a safe, comforting environment for them but also keeping things real enough so that they can cope with things don't go as planned. One thing I find myself wanting (and praying) for my 2 young daughters is that they would feel confident yet vulnerable enough to come to me when they are struggling. That I would be able to create an environment of honesty for them where vulnerability itself would be safe. Having worked in youth ministry for years I have seen too many kids make bad decisions or cover things up because they don't have healthy outlets to be honest. It's definitely easier said than done, which is why I continue to struggle with this as a parent. No easy answer, but I can see how me modeling vulnerability for my girls will give them examples of how they can safely be vulnerable too.


message 9: by Taite (new)

Taite (tbtravels) | 12 comments This dialogue is resonating with me as well. Since reading this book (I read it over the spring and returned it so I can't adequately quote), I have found myself trying to be more honest with my toddler about what is going on with me and my emotions. Instead of just saying "No, don't do xyz.. " I try to tell him why. Or if I raise my voice for him doing something dangerous I tell him because "it scared me" or "it made me angry when you didn't listen." I've let him see me cry during my grief and let him know my heart is hurting (this is something my own mother rarely does with me even still). The compassion he shows at such a young age is absolutely amazing to me and really helps me heal. I think it's about teaching him effective communication tools, which showing my emotions in an open, honest, and vulnerable way will help him develop those skills as well.


message 10: by Christie (new)

Christie (christievalenzona) | 8 comments Taite- this is something my mother didn't do with me either. She was afraid to be vulnerable, which made me afraid to be vulnerable and so now I am really committed to having that open communication with my kids. I want to break the unhealthy cycle that can create and start new habits in our family.


message 11: by Jen (new)

Jen | 39 comments Mod
Christie wrote: "Hi ladies, I'm a bit late to the dialogue but loving this topic and wanted to jump in. I agree that it's so important for us to model vulnerability for our kids. It feels like such a fine line most..."

Open communication is key, I so agree Christie. And I think one way we can encourage our kids to be vulnerable and share their feelings with us, is to work on listening without judgement or any immediate advice. Like Kristin said above, one reason she sometimes doesn't open up is for fear of unsolicited advice. That resonated with me, and I am sure that keeps kids from sharing things with their parents sometimes. Not wanting to hear advice, or "You should..." or immediate fixes.

I think it's good practice to know as a parent when to just listen, and when to step in. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.


message 12: by Jen (new)

Jen | 39 comments Mod
Christie wrote: "Taite- this is something my mother didn't do with me either. She was afraid to be vulnerable, which made me afraid to be vulnerable and so now I am really committed to having that open communicatio..."

Oh my gosh, you guys, same here! My mom was never vulnerable in front of us. She was always strong, always positive. I loved this about her, because we had an idyllic upbringing, my mom was ALWAYS happy!

And by no means so I want to be criticizing her for that, because we were the number one in her life, and she wanted to protect us and make our lives the best ever. And she did!

But everything being OK and everything always being positive isn't real life. I remember having a lot of issues when I became a mother myself, because I didn't feel very positive a lot of the times! It's HARD, but my mom modeled this perfect version of motherhood. I remember thinking, my mom never struggled, my mom never yelled at us, my mom never...

So I am doing things a bit differently with my girls, and if I am feeling sad, or mad, or disappointed, or irritable, I am telling them and telling them why. I have had a lot of chances to show my emotions to them since my mom passed. I feel like it is important to show them I experience negative emotions like everyone does. It's how we work through them that matters.


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