Brené Brown's Work Is Everything You Never Knew You Needed

Brené Brown's Work Is Everything You Never Knew You Needed

"Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver." -Brené Brown
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At the beginning of 2018, I made a goal for myself that I would read 20 books this year. Naturally, I'm reading about seven books at the moment- just check out my Goodreads. I'm reading a solid variety of fiction and non-fiction, but Brené Brown's "Braving the Wilderness" has particularly struck a chord with me. I can't put it down. Multiple people have suggested to me that I read something she's written and I've finally gotten around to it. I'm nothing short of captivated.

Brené Brown is an author and professor at the University of Houston, as her bio mentions. Brown researches shame, empathy, vulnerability, and courage. She's been interviewed and engaged with the likes of Oprah and Maya Angelou. She's even given a couple Ted Talks. You can find her second talk here. Brown has a few published books out (and I plan to read them all), and I landed on "Braving the Wilderness" to read with a friend. It is sort of a book that answers some major questions I've had.

I'm about halfway through "Braving the Wilderness", but it's already opened my eyes to a new context through which to understand how we currently communicate and connect with each other. As a communication instructor, I crave understanding people and why we behave the way we do. In "Braving the Wilderness", Brown identifies the struggles we face every day in staying true to ourselves and withstanding the difficulties of communicating with people who have different ideas than we do. That's a very simplistic explanation of what she lays out in the book, really.

Brown grounds her ideas and concepts in research, which I appreciate. She's built up a wealth of knowledge and understanding from herself and her own heroes that can help us understand the value of being vulnerable with each other. The important take away is that we should really be seeking to understand each other better as individuals. In a culture that is especially politicized and divided, her tactics could come in handy.

No matter who you are, you can connect with Brown on some level. She uses examples from her own life and historical examples to demonstrate the ideas she proposes. The greatest elements of her ideas are that she seeks truth, has a clear picture of reality, and dives into the nuances of complicated issues that cloud our thoughts in this nation every day. Her writing is eloquent and down-to-earth all at the same time.

Brené Brown is sassy, sophisticated, and honest. Her research and novels are an attempt to better understand humanity and how we function as a social species. I appreciate her work in the sense that it is meant to aid us in being the best and most authentic versions of ourselves. Check her out- Brown provides us with insightful perspectives to consider. I can't wait to read the rest of her work.

Cover Image Credit: Brene Brown

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6 Places in New York City Every "Friends" Fan Needs to Visit

Grab a cup of coffee at Central Park.
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As a Friends fanatic myself, I often wonder about the places in New York City featured in the various episodes and whether I could actually visit them. Most of them are fictional or no longer exist, but there are a few places you can go to reminisce about your favorite Friends moments. So, here are 6 places in New York City you definitely need to visit as a Friends fan.

1. The Apartment Building, Obviously

The building used for the exterior shot of the apartments in Friends is real, and is located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village. It's an obvious must-see.

2. The Pullitzer Fountain

This is the fountain that the friends danced around in for the iconic theme song, and it's located right in Central Park.

3. Bloomingdale's

This is the department where Rachel worked before she moved on to Ralph Lauren, where she met Joshua, and where she started her career in fashion.

4. The Plaza Hotel

This is where Monica and Chandler celebrated their engagement in The One WIth Monica's Thunder, and is actually really gorgeous.

5. The Central Perk Replica

While Central Perk isn't a real coffee shop, a pop-up replica opened up in 2014 on Lafayette Street and it's definitely a must-visit.

6. Chandler's Office

The fictional Chandler works in the real Solow Building, located on West 57th street.

Cover Image Credit: Fame Focus

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Heroes Of Our Time

Or, how I want to be a hero in the modern world.

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On March 8, it was International Women's Day, where people all over the world recognized the struggles of women around the world, along with the necessary progress necessary to achieve full equality in society. That day passed through my mind like any other day, but the idea of being celebrated for my achievements and helping others garner rights always stood out to me. And with the opportunities which I'm fortunate to have and those I've created, I could do something special.

Simultaneously, I also live in a world where the difference between a hero and a villain is obscured, if not completely dissolved. In our political climate, where at this point, even a certain action can be interpreted to many different ways, whomever is a hero is considered one who not only stands up for themselves, but also brings a strong victory to their side. And with the 2020 presidential campaigns along the way, I had the impression the Democratic Party candidates may shift further to the left, which is advantageous for my political position, but not necessarily for those who may oppose it.

When combined for my interests in literature, I see heroism as one shining moment, born out of the hero's journey. A person would receive their calling from a supernatural source or fate, and decide to take it. They would of course struggle to do what's right and achieve their destiny, but when they did, they would have spectacular glory and respect, no matter if its in life or death.

These influences shape how I want to become a hero — I want to emerge out of a humdrum life in university, take a stand with my writing, and eventually inspire people to do the same. But in books and movies, heroism is seemingly straightforward, showing none of the ordinary work a person has to take to achieve their high status, nor how they pushed through at what they're doing. As somebody who started lacking persistence and will recently, I question how I want to be heroic, when I have to learn how to survive as well.

Going into my 22 year, and further into graduation, I have to learn heroism isn't necessarily contained in one moment, like saving a life or motivating troops to go to war. It doesn't even have to be factional at times, defeating good over evil in some aspects. It has to be a commitment towards what one believes in, and the perseverance to see it through, no matter how difficult it is or how hot the spotlight burns on oneself. And wouldn't it be enough for now?

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