Vulnerability and blogging

I have a crush on author and researcher Brené Brown and have written about her before here.

I’m reading Brown’s latest book, Daring Greatly. There is sooooo much I want to write about the book and I haven’t even finished it yet. One section I did just read and I will share with you is about clarifying intentions, setting boundaries and cultivating connection – I’ve related it to blogging.

Brown is asked how she decides what to share when it comes to her own work given she hasn’t cultivated trusting relationships with her audience (Brown is also an in demand speaker and has her own blog) and indeed, I wouldn’t know half the people who read this blog. I know many bloggers have hesitated over hitting the Publish button, as I have, but are there any hard and fast rules? Not really but here’s a little of Brown’s thoughts on what her boundaries are around what she shares:

  • She only shares stories or experiences that have been worked through
  • Doesn’t share what she defines as “intimate” stories or stories that are fresh wounds
  • She shares when she has no unmet needs that she’s trying to fill. Brown believes that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not the expectations she might have for the response she gets.
    I guess this means don’t tie your worthiness to the responses you get.

Brown has compiled a checklist if you’re not sure whether you’re sharing for the right or wrong reasons and again, this is for a larger audience where a trusting relationship has not been made – in other words, someone other than your best mate is reading it!:

  • Why am I sharing this?
  • What outcome am I hoping for?
  • What emotions am I experiencing?
  • Do my intentions align with my values?
  • Is there an outcome, response or lack of a response that will hurt my feelings?
  • Is this sharing in the service of connection?
  • Am I genuinely asking the people in my life for what I need?

I know I’m guilty in some of my 65 posts so far of what Brown calls Floodlighting (sharing vulnerability, especially shame stories, without making a proper connection first). The result of this is that readers probably think WTF is she telling me THAT for?! It feels all wrong for them; too personal because my intentions were wrong. I’ve certainly read posts that make me feel that way.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t share at all, but as Brown says in her book “…being mindful about what, why and how we share is important when the context is a larger public. We’re all grateful for people who write and speak in ways that help us remember that we’re not alone”. That we are.

Brené Brown’s blog is here.

You can find out more and buy the book here. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

If you’re a blogger, do you have boundaries?

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4 Responses to Vulnerability and blogging

  1. This is great, Lisa. Just what a newbie like me needs to bear in mind.

  2. 2wisebirds says:

    I think I’m off to order this! I love learning more about mindfulness and perspective. Thanks for introducing me to her!

  3. Lisa, I just got Daring Greatly. I cannot wait to read it. As a blogger, I do have some definite boundaries. If the story is not entirely mine, I ask permission from the family member before I post it. I use my blog as a way to process events in my life. I typically try to reflect first before I post, depending on how recent the event is.

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