I went to Brene Brown’s appearance in Evanston last week, wrote down some of her comments, and had a thought about them. The remarks I wrote included:
•”Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil. Refute bullshit with generosity, curiosity, civility.”
•We need to move from “dehumanizing” others to “rehumanizing” others.
•We should move from “conflict resolution” to “conflict transformation” (quoting a teacher at the Kellogg School at Northwestern University).
•She spoke about someone having “a ministry of presence.”
•She advises having a “strong back, a soft front, and a wild heart.”
•”Stop walking through the world looking for evidence that you do not belong, that you are not good enough, because you will always find it.”
Many of her remarks seemed to me to apply to that motivational space that Maslow described as the transition from the lower to the higher levels of identity, self-respect, self-esteem. At the lower level we are emerging from the belongingness needs and we seek status and identity within the context of approval of others with whom we are affiliated, which could include family, friends, professional organizations, etc. At the higher level we are seeking to be in touch with and true to our authentic sense of who we are, and how we should be true to ourselves while responding to others. This all takes place within Maslow’s fourth level in his hierarchy of motivation, “Identity,” above “Belonging” and below “Being.” However, Brown’s comment about having a “ministry of presence” seems to have more to do with what Maslow called “Being.” Her remark about a “strong back, soft front, wild heart” seems to be trying to put it all together; to be true to one’s identity, to find attachment and belonging with others, even those with whom we disagree, and to remain open to inspirations that may not fit easily into our belonging relationships and may even challenge or transform our sense of our own identity.