Atlas of the Heart - Brené Brown

I want to give you an x4maT!ve summary of the book "Atlas of the Heart - mapping meaningful connection and the language of human experience" where Brené Brown "takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human".

Earlier I have written a number of blog posts related to Brené Brown. I can recommend her TED talk "Power of vulnerability" that I wrote about in a post 2013, a post describing her thoughts about Blame and Empathy using RSA short episodes "Espresso for the mind" and finally my review (på svenska) of her book "Trotsa vildmarken".

From the book Atlas of the Heart:

Places We Go When Things Are Uncertain or Too Much
Stress, Overwhelm, Anxiety, Worry, Avoidance, Excitement, Dread, Fear, Vulnerability

"Overwhelmed means an extreme level of stress, an emotional and/or cognitive intensity to the point of feeling unable to function"

"you are afraid of surrender because you don´t want to lose control - but you never had control; all you had was anxiety"

"Vulnerability is not weakness; it´s our greatest measure of courage"

Places We Go When We Compare
Comparison, Admiration, Reverence, Envy, Jealousy, Resentment, Schadenfreude, Freudenfreude

"Comparison is the crush of conformity from one side and competition from the other - it´s trying to simultaneously fit in and stand out. Comparison says - Be like everyone else, but better"

"Envy occurs when we want something that another person has. Jealousy is when we fear losing a relationship or a valued part of a relationship that we already have"

"While resentment is definitely an emotion, I normally recognize it by a familiar thought pattern: What mean and critical thing am I rehearsing saying to this person"

Places We Go When Things Don´t Go as Planned
Boredom, Disappointment, Expectations, Regret, Discouragement, Resignation, Frustration

"Boredom is your imagination calling to you"

"Disappointment is unmet expectations. The more significant the expectations, the more significant the disappointment."

"There are too many people in the world today who decide to live disappointed rather than risk feeling disappointment."

Places We Go When It´s Beyond Us
Awe, Wonder, Confusion, Curiosity, Interest, Surprise

"Wonder inspires the wish to understand; awe inspires the wish to let shine, to acknowledge and to unite"

"Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty. We have to ask questions, admit to not knowing, risk being told that we shouldn´t be asking, and, sometimes, make discoveries that lead to discomfort."

Places We Go When Things Aren´t What They Seem
Amusement, Bittersweetness, Nostalgia, Cognitive dissonance, Paradox, Irony, Sarcasm

"There´s nothing more limiting than tapping out of tension and oversimplifying the thoughts and feelings that have the power to help us understand who we are and what we need."

"The bittersweet side of appreciating life´s most precious moments is the unbearable awareness that those moments are passing"

"In these challenging moments of dissonance, we need to stay curious and resist choosing comfort over courage. It´s brave to invite new information to the table, to sit with it and hear it out"

Places We Go When We´re Hurting
Anguish, Hopelessness, Despair, Sadness, Grief

"Anguish not only takes away our ability to breathe, feel, and think - it comes for our bones. Anguish often caused us to physically crumple in on ourselves, literally bringing us to our knees or forcing us all the way to the ground"

"We need hope like we need air"

"To be human is to know sadness. Owning our sadness is courageous and a necessary step in finding our way back to ourselves and each other."

Places We Go with Others
Compassion, Pity, Empathy, Sympathy, Boundaries, Comparative Suffering

"Empathy is a tool of compassion. We can respond empathically only if we are willing to be present to someone´s pain"

"We need to dispel the myth that empathy is walking in someone else´s shoes. Rather than walking in your shoes, I need to learn how to listen to the story you tell about what it´s like in your shoes and believe you even when it doesn´t match my experiences."

"Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously"

Places We Go When We Fall Short
Shame, Self-compassion, Perfectionism, Guilt, Humiliation, Embarrassment

"Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love, belonging, and connection"

"Shame is the birthplace for perfectionism. Perfectionism is not striving to be our best or working towards excellence. Healthy striving is internally driven. Perfectionism is externally driven by a simple but potentially all-consuming question: What will people think?

"Embarrassment is a fleeting feeling of self-conscious discomfort in response to a minor incident that was witnessed by others"

Places We Go When We Search for Connection
Belonging, Fitting In, Connection, Disconnection, Insecurity, Invisibility, Loneliness

"We have to belong to ourselves as much as we need to belong to others. Any belonging that asks us to betray ourselves is not true belonging"

"Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship."

"Self-security is the open and nonjudgmental acceptance of one´s own weaknesses"

Places We Go When the Heart Is Open
Love, Lovelessness, Heartbreak, Trust, Self-trust, Betrayal, Defensiveness, Flooding, Hurt

"We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection"

"The brokenhearted are the bravest among us - they dared to love"

"I´m not sure there´s a braver sentence in the human catalog of brave sentences than My feelings are hurt. It´s simple, vulnerable, and honest. But we don´t say it very often"

Places We Go When Life Is Good
Joy, Happiness, Calm, Contentment, Gratitude, Foreboding Joy, Relief, Tranquility

"Gratitude is an emotion that reflects our deep appreciation for what we value, what brings meaning to our lives, and what makes us feel connected to ourselves and others."

"When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself; Oh yes - I already have everything that I really need"

"Calm is an intention. Do we want to infect people with more anxiety, or heal ourselves and the people around us with calm?"

Places We Go When We Feel Wronged
Anger, Contempt, Disgust, Dehumanization, Hate, Self-Righteousness

"Anger is a catalyst. Holding on to it will make us exhausted and sick. Internalizing anger will take away our joy and spirit; externalizing anger will make us less effective in our attempts to create change and forge connection"

"With disgust, we´ve taken an emotion that keeps us safe from the stuff that can make us sick and turned it into an emotion that can be weaponized against people who make us sick"

"Language matters. It´s the raw material of story, it changes how we feel about ourselves and others, and it´s a portal to connection. With the same amount of power, language can also be used to strip people of their dignity and humanity."

Places We Go to Self-Assess
Pride, Hubris, Humility

"Pride is a feeling of pleasure or celebration related to our accomplishments or efforts"

"Narcissism is the shame-based fear of being ordinary"

"I´m here to get it right, not to be right"


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