Living authentically means cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of light and darkness, strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of who we are supposed to be and embrace who we are. Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving—even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, and especially when we are wrestling with the shame and fear of ‘not being enough.’ Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.Brené Brown, Ph.D., Author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

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What is the best way to ease someone’s pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

Voice: Dr Brené Brown
Animation: Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne)



In My Hands by Samantha Nagel A beautiful image that speaks to me of that care required to build a community founded in mutuality.

Drawing by Samantha Nagel (EphemeralGaze @

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
—Pema Chodron

Depression is a kind of hell, but it frequently also manifests as a “solution” to a deeper hell, a way of not having to fully feel our core wounds; we may, quite understandably, prefer the burdened beasts of depression to the monsters of the deep. –Robert Augustus Masters, Meeting the Dragon: Ending Our Suffering By Entering Our Pain

[Research] points to an alternative approach [to happiness]: a ‘negative path’ to happiness that entails taking a radically different stance towards those things most of us spend our lives trying hard to avoid. This involves learning to enjoy uncertainty, embracing insecurity and becoming familiar with failure. In order to be truly happy, it turns out, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them. —Oliver Burkeman, reviewing the book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, by Oliver Burkeman

Reciprocity, a key component of mutuality, is a universal energy where we give our spark to others and they to us. This exchange is love in action, living in love, right where we are. Nothing is one sided. I respond to you and you to me; together we look up higher than any height we could reach on our own. We know the song of each other’s heart, and together we sing our own duet, easing our pain and intensifying our joy.

—Alexandra Stoddard, Living in Love