Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart hearkens the homeschool mama to listen to her heart (& her kids’ hearts).
Once upon a time, a friend introduced me to Brene Brown’s initial TedTalk. And that introduction changed my life.
It changed my mind, my approach to myself, and to others.
So how does Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart influence my homeschool?
Once upon a time, I didn’t have clarity about who I was as a burned-out homeschool mama.
- I knew I didn’t want to be homeschooling anymore.
- I knew I was done with managing interpersonal conflict with the kids.
- I was tired of being harangued by kids wanting something.
- I was tired of forcing kids to homeschool.
What I didn’t understand was that a very large part of WHY I was dealing with that was because I didn’t have a sense of myself, and had no idea I was supposed to factor in my own needs alongside my homeschool mama role.
Maybe, in theory, you could have asked me then what I did for myself.
- And I would have answered that I went to Starbucks every Wednesday evening for a pumpkin spice latte and a scone and wrote my heart out.
- I’d write why I loved homeschooling.
- And I’d write why I didn’t.
- I wrote how kid interactions were exhausting me, what wasn’t working and how I wish it were different.
- But also how it was better than the school lifestyle.
But this act of regular Starbucksing was keeping my head above water.
Surviving. Not thriving.
How does Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart influence my homeschool and what can we learn from her latest offering as homeschool mamas?
The first thing I’ve learned…
To form meaningful connections with others, we must first connect with ourselves, but to do either, we must first establish a common understanding of the language of emotion and human experience.
― Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
This is the heart of self-compassion. And the heart of knowing how to connect and relate to others.
We need to know what we actually feel.
We can spend our lives disconnected from what we really feel but still instinctively and defensively react to those feelings, because we always respond to our feelings, intentionally or unintentionally.
When we get connected to our feelings, identify them, and learn what they’re telling us, we grow in greater insight.
We become kind to ourselves. And therefore, naturally respond kindly to others too.
Like it or not, being a human means we feel all the feels.
Those feelings set a soundtrack to our life experiences.
So what are you feeling? Big uncomfortable feels or pleasant satisfying feels?
You can read (or listen) more about Big Emotions for the homeschool Mama here:
- How to address Homeschool Mama’s Big Emotions
- The Big Emotions Toolbox for Homeschool Mama: Your Thoughts
- Toolbox for Big Emotions for the Homeschool Mama: Your Feelings
The second thing I learned from Brene Brown…
“The near enemy of love is attachment. Attachment masquerades as love. It says, “I will love this person (because I need something from them).” Or, “I’ll love you if you’ll love me back. I’ll love you, but only if you will be the way I want.” This isn’t the fullness of love. Instead there is attachment—there is clinging and fear. True love allows, honors, and appreciates; attachment grasps, demands, needs, and aims to possess.”― Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
Naturally, we attach when we love someone.
We can relate symbiotically to the benefit of us and the other person.
But we can also attach ourselves to someone because we feel too insecure without them.
We feel unsafe, and insecure without them.
Sometimes it’s hard to see which is the baseline for that relationship: healthy attachment or unhealthy attachment.
We can spend years in a relationship not realizing that we’re relating unhealthily together.
I discuss different relationship challenges in each of these Homeschool Mama Self-Care Podcasts:
- How to Capture your Charmed Homeschool (and address our challenges)
- How to Show Up Better in Your Homeschool with a Retreat
- The most frequent themes in coaching conversations I have
We need to learn how to maintain genuine connections and still be our separate selves.
This is a concept in the counseling world called self-differentiation.
The third thing I learned from Atlas of the Heart…
“I am responsible for holding you accountable in a respectful and productive way. I’m not responsible for your emotional reaction to that accountability”― Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
Sometimes we see behaviour in our kids that we don’t want to see.
We know it won’t be an adult-functional behaviour.
We know they won’t benefit in their relationships or their futures if they show up as they are.
And yet, we can’t make them change their behaviour.
(Oh, we will surely try at times, because we’re homeschool mamas and we know that we’re imprinting them, influencing them, coaching them, and we deeply care.)
And yet, we’ll also discover that we are not in control of how they engage.
When we are reactive towards their behaviour, we set up a dynamic of power challenges and increased reactivity.
That dynamic never feels good.
(It also doesn’t help our child(ren) learn what they need to learn).
But when we know that a behaviour they’re taking on really isn’t useful for them, that they really shouldn’t be practicing a behaviour that will be self-destructive, and that they really need a boundary, then we have to practice enacting that boundary, over and over and over.
Until the boundary is familiar.
Their emotional reaction to that boundary is their choice.
I can choose to be angry or sad or unhappy or shamed or distracted or confused by their reaction, but I also can choose not to be.
It’s my choice.
Whatever their feeling may be does not mean I am responsible to attend to their feeling.
Which is tricky to engage if boundaries aren’t a clear concept to our souls.
The fourth thing I learned from Brene Brown…
“In fact, research shows that the process of labeling emotional experience is related to greater emotion regulation and psychosocial well-being.”― Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
I would love to understand why the research shows that the process of labeling emotional experience is related to greater emotional regulation & psychosocial well-being.
(I assume that something shifts in our brains as we practice self-awareness, but that is just my first thought).
With or without research, I have seen it in myself and I’ve seen it in others, that when I identify how I feel, identify how my body feels, and am able to succinctly describe my feelings with clarity, I feel less overwhelmed by those feelings.
I’ve also learned that those intense feelings don’t last. They always pass. No matter how intense they may be.
Like clouds in the sky, like a weather system on the weather radar, the intense feelings we experience will pass.
Identifying my feelings helps teach me a little more about myself.
- I am able to more clearly identify what I need.
- I am able to consider how I can go about asking for what I need.
- I am more able to create boundaries where I may need them.
Here’s what you can do to build self-awareness into your homeschool routine:
- Schedule a mindfulness moment into my device.
- When the alarm rings, stop, breathe, I ask myself “How am I feeling?”
- Then I ask myself, “Why am I feeling what I’m feeling?”
- Then I ask myself, “What are the thoughts behind my feelings?”
- Then I ask myself, “What is the story I am telling myself?” (Because there is always a story I’m telling myself).
**Brene Brown has a solid discussion on all the different feelings: it could be used as a journaling opportunity each morning to get a little more familiar with yourself.
Here’s what you could do:
As she discussed each of the feelings in her book, stop, write the feeling in your journal, and ask yourself when you typically feel that feeling.
Then expand that feeling into a story of the first time you felt that feeling.
Self-awareness is our goal.
The fifth way Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart influence my homeschool…
“When I’m prioritizing being liked over being free, I was much sweeter but less authentic. Now I’m kinder and less judgmental. But also firmer and more solid. Occasionally salty.”― Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
The homeschool lifestyle encourages us to live our lives intentionally, in a way that is off the beaten path, outside the scope of the typical family path.
And this “off the beaten path” approach compels us to strengthen the muscle of being different. Which compels us toward independence.
Different people compel family and friends to ask why.
- Why do you need to be different?
- Why do you need to take your kids out of an organized educational system?
- Why do you have to do things a different way?
- Aren’t you disadvantaging them?
- Aren’t you disabling a social community that they should be part of?
- Aren’t you taking on too much responsibility for your kids?
With all these questions, we have to ask ourselves, how are we going to respond to these questions?
We could respond defensively. Or we could own our choices, own our voices, and confidently comfortably respond with matter-of-fact answers if it necessitates.
And when we do this, we grow in accepting others’ choices for their families and their kids too.
We’ll also grow a whole lot clearer on why we’re doing what we’re doing.
So, you do you, girlfriend!
The sixth way Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart influence my homeschool…
“When someone shares their hopes and dreams with us, we are witnessing deep courage and vulnerability. Celebrating their successes is easy, but when disappointment happens, it’s an incredible opportunity for meaningful connection.”― Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
Homeschooling is a whole lot more satisfying when we share the journey authentically and vulnerably with others.
I’ve been privileged to connect with real homeschool mamas desiring to show up on purpose in their homeschools and lives.
I’ve been privileged to listen to their hearts…
- their treasured stories,
- their hard stories,
- their bittersweet stories,
- and the life stories that have informed their homeschool and their lives.
And I’ve learned that there is nothing more beautiful than listening to their hearts and helping them clarify why they’re doing what they’re doing and growing toward their own freedom and purpose in this life.
In their homeschools and their lives.
If you’d like to connect with me, you’re welcome to schedule a consultation here (our first visit fee is waived):
Frequently Asked Questions
When will I see the Book Club Zoom link in my email?
You’ll see the zoom link in your email the morning of your Book Club. Make sure your email provider hasn’t thrown it into Junk Mail.
Where can I purchase the book?
You can find all the books from our Book Club in the Capturing the Charmed Life Amazon Book Shop. When you purchase here, you support me!
Does this Book Club cost?
The nominal $5 purchase enables the Zoom group platform. Oh, and time, it costs you time. You’ll have to find a quiet hour and a half away from the kids and responsibilities to spend time on YOU!
How long is the Book Club?
Usually about an hour and a half.
Can I ask questions about the book and its applications to my homeschool?
Absolutely! I’ll share my insights from the book and how they apply to our homeschools, but the best part of this book club? You sharing your thoughts and how it applies to your homeschool. If you have thoughts, insights, or questions, we want to hear them.
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