Living Whole-Heartedly

This writing is inspired by Brené Brown’s teachings. Living whole-heartedly is a higher level of being where we are more effective. Whole-hearted people have a sense of worthiness, love and belonging.

Living Whole-Heartedly Means:

  • Having the courage to be imperfect. To openly be who we are, warts and all. To truly know that we are enough, that we are worthy and that we matter. Accepting that being courageous is not always comfortable, but we are courageous anyway.
  • Being compassionate to ourself and others. Knowing that we are unable to be compassionate to others without first compassionate to ourself.

Sometimes it’s better to be kind than to be right.
We do not need an intelligent mind that speaks,
but a patient heart that listens.
You will not be punished for your anger,
you will be punished by your anger

  • Practicing gratitude and joy. Seeking out the good in any situation. Appreciating and being grateful for what we have. Striving for things we like and desire in a detached manner that is not invested in attainment.
  • Enjoying the journey, knowing the destinations arrive infrequently. A train is mostly traveling between stations. A ship is serving its purpose at sea, not in port.

What man actually needs is […] the
striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.

“Man’s Search for Meaning” — Viktor Frankl
  • Connecting authentically. Connecting as we truly are, not as we think we should be. It is not possible to truly connect without being authentic.

We are wired to connect with others.
It’s what gives purpose and meaning in our lives.

Brené Brown
  • Loving completely and unconditionally with our whole heart. Giving of ourselves. Having the courage to initiate our expressions of love, knowing there is no guarantee of outcome.
  • Acknowledging and accepting our vulnerabilities and those of others. Being able to lean into our discomforts instead of avoiding, numbing or repressing them. Realising it is through our vulnerability that we find our courage.

Living Whole-Heartedly Doesn’t Mean:

  • Numbing unpleasant feelings. It is not possible to selectively numb feelings. Numbing unpleasant feelings we numb all feelings, pleasant with the unpleasant. This leaves us feeling unfulfilled and miserable. So we numb some more. And on it goes . . .
  • Judging ourselves, things and others. Rather, be accepting, compassionate, kind and tolerant.
  • Seeking out certainty. Issues need not be black or white, we are equally comfortable with the shades of grey. Disagreeing without being disagreeable, or imposing our opinions on others. Accepting of the uncertainty outside of ourselves because we know it is separate from our inner core self.
  • Blaming ourselves, situations and others. By focusing on what we can learn and how we can improve from situations that do not go as expected, we sidestep the trap of seeking fault and where to lay blame.
  • Perfecting ourselves, the things we do and others. Being comfortable, accepting and tolerant of the messiness of imperfections in the people and things around us. We unconditionally accept people for who they are, not what we expect them to be. This especially applies to our children. Like everyone else, they develop by struggling and striving. It is our duty as caregivers to instill an unconditional sense of worthiness, love and belonging in our children.
  • Pretending. What we do and say does have an impact on those and the environment around us. We acknowledge responsibility and accountability for the consequences of our actions and deeds. We do not ignore, deny or trivialise them.
  • Coveting. Acknowledging, understanding and processing our feelings of resentment, jealousy and envy. We do not outwardly express or repress them.


The key to living whole-heartedly lies in our ability to be vulnerable. To be brave enough to risk giving of ourself without the guarantee of outcome. To lean into and accept our feelings of fear and rejection as we march to the sound of our own drum. Through living whole-heartedly we breakthrough shame. Shame is at the core of many of our self-esteem and self-worth issues.