You know the thing is I’ve slowly and intuitively figured out a lot of what Brené Brown is saying just from my interactions with people especially in business. She just has the research to back it up and prove it.
That’s the beauty of listening to your gut…you know something to be true; you just can’t explain it.
What I really appreciated in The Call to Courage was the distinction she made between fitting in and belonging.
Social media is conditioning a lot of people to just fit in…that’s why if you don’t like Black Panther you’re racist. Which…doesn’t make any sense.
Political correctness is just as corrosive as social media…it eliminates nuance and thinking which may deviate from the norm or the established narrative.
(There’s this weird threat packaged with political correctness that goes like this: “When someone is complaining about “political correctness” ask them, “Well, what is it you want to say that you feel you cannot say, out loud, because of political correctness? To help me understand, you must tell me specifically, what are the things you feel you cannot say?”
The gasp shudder implication is that somebody desperately wants to be racist or like throw the n word around instead of being treated like a child and having to say phrases like the n word. It’s a popular “logic” but it’s so embarrassing because it’s so flawed. For one there is no consistent agreed upon definition of political correctness: as I said I’m more concerned with the lack of nuanced thinking not the racism, two that threat is about control (i.e. correctness!!) while I’m happy to give people more freedom and less control and three as we’ve learned from the West Wing: “If you don’t like what they’re asking, you don’t accept the premise of the question.” Right. Ultimately that threat is an updated version of what will the neighbours say!! Ummm it doesn’t matter which bring us full circle back to Brené Brown.)
I’ve watched a lifetime of 80s movies and I know when the loser kid suddenly starts fitting in with the cool kids it’s never…good. He fits in; he doesn’t belong.
He belongs with his tribe of nerds and losers and geeks sitting in that one dank corner of the school’s caff. I understood that she just articulated it.
Because again from my avid 80s movies watching makes it easier to reject fitting in.
Thankfully we’re not in high school anymore…I got options. I don’t want to fit in with your group because it’s not fun; it’s not good for me and I won’t enjoy it. In the bigger picture our society doesn’t benefit from notions like if you didn’t like the Black Panther you’re racist. That’s flat out stupid. Which understandably generates ire. I’m not saying I’m better than you I’m saying you can’t offer me any life.
So yeah truly if you don’t enjoy beach vacations…well then don’t book beach vacations. The Instagram likes for your Sunset photos are not worth it.
It just makes sense doesn’t. Like if somebody thinks you are not pretty it doesn’t automatically mean you are ugly right??
I understand the social pressure and rejection always hurts…it’s human nature. It’ll always hurt. Brown even acknowledges that in the special.
But again and more important than that hurt: it doesn’t mean it’s true. That rejection is…well it’s a good thing.
Oh I’ve been called stupid, racist, retarded, jerkface etc. and I’m none of those things: it’s so easy to reject.
I’m like everybody else I have blindspots and biases but that doesn’t make me stupid. The freedom I’ve willingly chosen means I don’t have to get it right. Just because I’m at bat doesn’t mean I hafta hit a home run. I’m cool with striking out.
It’s fine…I will continue to strike out and I will continue to hit home runs and I will continue to be erroneously labelled that’s this modern life.
(My fav criticism is I’m doing this/saying these things to be cool!! LOL!!!! There are countless ways to be cool…I wouldn’t pick this path if that was true. I haven’t gotten that one for a while…I miss that criticism.)
All of this of course only hinges on knowing who you are and being comfortable with that. That’s why fitting is a trap. It’s like settling for a tinder date instead of patiently waiting for the one. Fitting is dollar store cheap. Belonging is priceless; it’s a high end luxury brand. And that is so worth it.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.