30 Days of Brené Brown — Day 3: #jackass #perfectionism #haters #trolls


Welcome to Day 3 of “30 Days of Brené Brown” wherein I will take the top 30 quotes as determined by Goodreads. Who is Brené Brown you ask? She is a research professor at the University of Houston, author of several books on emotional health and authenticity and all-around boss when it comes to shame and vulnerability research. But more importantly, she is my “if you could have dinner / evening out with anyone you don’t know who would it be…” -person. Go here to learn more about her. In each post I will try to limit myself to 1,200 words.

Today’s quote is just … well, here:

“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
― Brené BrownDaring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Isn’t that great?! I love it.

As a writer with a blog I will admit that I have yet (today might be the day!) to deal with trolls or haters on the internet. In life, I have had to deal with them and the bottom line, as it takes me back to a wonderful book by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, is that it’s nothing personal. But that’s the part that stings too.

The thing is: when you put yourself out there, you’re going to attract attention. Some of it will be good, some of it will be bad attention. My father has said, “when they get mad, then you know you’ve gotten to them.” I used to think that was a good thing, y’know, getting to them. I’m not so sure anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to be an effective person, but I don’t want to get to anyone.

Years ago when I was on a committee to get some pedestrian and safety improvements made around my neighborhood, there was a guy who disagreed. He worked for the school system. We had the state and county transportation, the county police and fire and the local government people all on the same side: they all agreed with us that the changes would help. The changes weren’t expensive, they were smart and they were long overdue. This guy? Not so much. He dug his heels in so deep that members on the committee were conVINCed he was taking all this personally. That it was him we were against. After a while, uh… yeah, I was against him. But in the beginning, I understood we all had our jobs to do.

We won, he lost.

The point of all this is that he was going to be That Guy. There was no jackass whispering to be done as Brené suggests, there was only the reality: that he was the Grand Opposer.

this is fantastic. you must admit.

this is fantastic. you must admit.

It has also occurred to me that if you bother whispering to a jackass, you will get kicked.

I’ve been on other boards. Same thing. There’s always one. When I was on PTA, we had a treasurer who was SO angry about how things went down during an experience on a federal election day (but didn’t tell anyone on the board about it) that she brought another mom with her to the Very Next PTA Meeting as ammo (this mom wasn’t even a school mom, but she was Shocked and Dismayed by our treasurer’s version of the story) to openly censure the board and then ambush us with a public resignation. Classy. This is ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, people. She was very uppity and super angry but NOT JUDGEMENTAL, Nooooo, never those guys!

Irony alert: it has been my experience that those with The Most Open Minds are often the ones who are the first to get pissed off if you don’t agree with them. It’s like that “no one can kick my brother but me” syndrome.


Another board I was on: same thing. I’m a big collaborator, consensus-builder; I believe in democracy, majority rules, that kind of stuff. Some people say they are but really aren’t. I have decided that I don’t have time for the people whose opinions of themselves in their own lives are so minuscule (but really not) that they are so determined to make other peoples’ lives hell. Hmm, this reminds me a little about yesterday’s post regarding the borderline personality disorder discussion.

People will always have an issue with whatever you do. Count on it. Even if they say it’s all OK and they’re really OK with it, I guarantee if given their druthers, they would change just something if they had to do it themselves. I know this enough about myself.

I delegate and give people work and by and large I’m good with it. But, if I could do it myself, I’d do something just the slightest bit different. I’d maybe pick a different font, or a smaller heel, or a different song, or a bigger ribbon…

And that’s OK! We are supposed to be different! The bottom line though is that we don’t take this stuff personally and so seriously. It also means that you keep trying, you keep going with your bad self: keep telling people how you feel, keep taking those emotional risks by sharing yourself.

I wish my mom were savvy to this quote. I think she spent a great part of her inner life fearing the jackasses while on the outside pretending to not be bothered by them. She had guts though, she took risks. I can learn from her as I always have though and that’s to make sure that the internal message aligns with the external behavior. That’s where she got messed up. That’s where a lot of us do. We can get tripped up and fall down and not know where to start again. It doesn’t matter where we start again, just THAT we start again.

Perfection is a myth. No one can agree on it. Ain’t that great?! Your idea of a fantastic Monet is not the same as mine. We might both love Andrew Wyeth but you might like another painting of his more than I do.

Does that make you an idiot? Yes.

HA! No. (I just did that to make sure you were still with me.) And I’m pretty sure no one is going to run out and ask me to make a painting of that jackass.

No. It makes you you.

And that, my friend is enough.

Thank you.

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