secure attachment and wholehearted living Last week we discussed the fourth and final attachment style; the secure attachment style. You can catch up and read about the four attachment styles to gain a better understanding of which best resonates with you: Attachment styles.

Over the years I have become familiar with attachment styles and the ever-expanding psychological literature surrounding them. I have come to realize that most of the research out there suggests that attachment styles are fixed and unchanging over time, similar to the way that personalities tend to stay consistent throughout the life span. This was a very disheartening discovery for me as my attachment style at the time was “preoccupied”, and I was longing for some trust and stability in my relationship. I wondered if I could ever be in the type of secure and healthy relationship that I had observed and yearned for. I don’t know if researchers have studied people who have consciously tried to change their attachment patterns, but I can tell you that I have been an exception to this rule. I want to share with you how I have made the journey to security in my own life and in my relationships.

There is a body of literature that is emerging on a group of people that are able to connect and be resilient regardless of what life brings their way. They are what Brene Brown calls the “wholehearted”. While conducting her research on shame, vulnerability, and connection, Brene Brown has discovered that about twenty percent of the people she interviewed surprised her when discussing topics such as shame and vulnerability.  It is not that this wholehearted group of people has had an easier life, or that they lived sheltered from uncontrollable events. What makes them different is that they don’t run from vulnerability or uncertainty. These people are able to balance being resilient with not becoming hardened or suiting up in metaphorical armour every time they walk out the door. I introduce the concept of wholehearted living because the guideposts that Brene Brown offers are the same lessons that I also came across in my own journey, and they have helped me to transform my life and my behaviour in relationships.

You might be wondering what wholehearted living has to do with relationships, and to that I would respond; have you heard of the expression “you can’t truly love or be loved until you learn to love yourself?” While that may be controversial to some (unfortunately we don’t have time to get into this debate today), there is a truth there; in order to be fully immersed and connected with the world around us, there needs to be an internal sense of safety, security and connectedness. The guideposts to wholehearted living by Brene Brown (found in her books “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly”) offer us a formula that leads towards security and connection. They are not a simple “how to” or a quick fix, they are everyday rules and choices to live by in order to consciously start the journey towards secure and connected living. The ten guideposts are as follows:

  1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
  2. Cultivating Self‐Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
  5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self‐Worth
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self‐Doubt and “Supposed To”
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Wholehearted living is the birthplace of connection, belonging, sense of worthiness, creativity, innovation and joy. All of which are important in developing a positive sense of self, and being able to see others in a trustworthy and positive light. Over the next several weeks, we will discuss each one of these guideposts in depth. We will talk about their impact on a personal level, and their impact on our relationships. I will include little exercises or ways to practice each guidepost so that you can test them and see how they work for yourself.

I would like to hear your feedback, so please keep me in the loop as you progress.

Looking forward to embark on this exciting journey!

You can check out more about Brene Brown at her website and on her blog.