#Flashback: Brené Celebrates Harriet Lerner

Three years ago, Brené celebrated the success of Dr. Harriet Lerner's groundbreaking book, The Dance of Anger.  As the launch date of our brand new course, Heartfelt:  A Course on the Power of Apologizing with Brené and Harriet approaches, today we flashback to Brené's words from May 12, 2014, describing why she finds Harriet's work "soul-shaking."


Harriet Lerner

Congratulations to my friend Harriet Lerner whose groundbreaking book, The Dance of Anger, just passed the “3 million books sold” mark. I wouldn’t have the career I have today had I not read this soul-shaking book. Harriet’s work fundamentally changed how I thought about my relationships, how I understood my own anger, and her career has long served as an inspiration to me.

It took five years to get The Dance of Anger published. I’m so grateful that Harriet stayed strong and committed to sharing her wisdom. Harriet, your work changed my life and the lives of so many of the people whom I love. Thank you! To celebrate, here are three of my favorite quotes from Harriet’s work: 

“It is not fear that stops you from doing the brave and true thing in your daily life. Rather, the problem is avoidance. You want to feel comfortable so you avoid doing or saying the thing that will evoke fear and other difficult emotions. Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run but, it will never make you less afraid.” 

“Those of us who are locked into ineffective expressions of anger suffer as deeply as those of us who dare not get angry at all.”   

“Everyone freaks out. Sometimes the best we can do with fear is befriend it. Expect it and understand that fear will always reappear. Eventually, it subsides. It will return. The real culprits are our knee-jerk responses to fear and the way we try to avoid feeling fear, anxiety, and shame. Don’t get me wrong, wanting to feel better fast is a perfectly natural human impulse. It is healthy to seek relief when you feel hopelessly mired in the emotional soup. Calming down is an essential first step to accurately perceiving a problem and deciding what to do about it but the last thing you need to do is shut yourself off from fear and pain – either your own or the world's. If there is one overriding reason why our world and relationships are in such a mess, is that we try to get rid of our anxiety, fear, and shame as fast as possible, regardless of the long-term consequences. In doing so, we blame and shame others and in countless ways, we unwittingly act against ourselves. We confuse our fear-driven thoughts with what is right, best, necessary or true.” 

If you haven’t read her books yet, do it now! You can also read a great interview with Harriet from Forbes Magazine here. Congratulations, Harriet!


Check out the video below for a sneak peak into our new course,  Heartfelt: A Course on the Power of Apologizing, and learn the 1st essential ingredient to a sincere apology.  

Get 20% off at checkout with promo code CWTRIBE.  

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  1. Avatar missing JeanBaker says…

    Really very nice and interesting post you have submitted here. Thank you so much for this contribution and I did not expect such a share here for us. Good job.

    Jean Baker

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  2. Avatar missing laurieginer says…

    We often want to give genuine advice or opinions. However, we also need to understand that it’s not always easy to accept the truth. We need to find the balance and set limitations to maintain positive relationships.

    Friends who resent one’s openness and honesty are usually, in turn, not worthy of the friendship.
    Over the years, I have learned that using appropriate language, word choices, and tone is the key to flourishing relationships.

    “They don’t want to hear the truth from you, because sometimes the truth hurts.”

    Speaking constructively and delivering tactful criticism eliminates the chance to pass biases. This also creates a healthy environment and opportunity to grow.

    As I’ve matured, I’ve recognized that my opinions matter and have the right to be heard. Having said this, I have learned that it is more effective to give an opinion or advice when it is sought.

    When I engage in conversations, I always try my best to think before I speak. Then, I contemplate, “Is it worth saying? How will what I say make a difference to this person?”

    If I proceed to give my opinion, I then decide, “How can I say this in such as way that it comes across as genuine, yet constructive?”

    By nature, we all have the tendency to overreact; it’s important to choose our battles wisely and release the negative energy that surrounds us.

    Be real; tell the truth using kind and heartfelt words. Respect will follow.

    Even though telling the truth may be difficult for many people, it’s the approach that we take that allows us to earn the respect of others.

    Speaking up for what we believe and sharing our opinions can be helpful and beneficial—when it’s appropriate, kind, constructive, and consistent.

    The lesson may be to experience this thus gain insight for future situations. Do not focus on “she manipulated me” focus on “I obliged my friends request in a kind, constructive manner” You are not a victim here.

    Reply 0 Replies