Brené Brown, the social psychologist with the celebrity following and Netflix documentary, is using her new podcast to help people navigate uncomfortable moments in life — including the one the world is facing right now.
Unlocking Us, which launched in March, was not planned with a pandemic in mind, but Brown, made famous for her incredibly popular TED talk The Power of Vulnerability, is now using the platform to talk to experts about topics that are impacting listeners in COVID-19 isolation, including loneliness, suffering, grief and empathy.
In an interview with the New York Times, Brown shared more about her thoughts on what the public can look to learn, and perhaps even gain, from this collective coronavirus experience. “A crisis highlights all of our fault lines,” she said in the interview. “We can pretend that we have nothing to learn, or we can take this opportunity to own the truth and make a better future for ourselves and others.”
Brown peppered the interview with other pearls of wisdom. “Get curious about what you’re feeling and introspective about where that comes from,” she said while also making sure to note that in these times, “we need to allow ourselves some grace and compassion.
“A lot of us already felt like we were half-a**ing it with work and half-a**ing it with the kids — now we’re like quarter-a**ing it. We need empathy around that rather than perfectionism.”
Brown says that in order to get through this difficult time it will be important for us to note the scale of the trauma we’re all facing. “It’s not just what we can see or are personally affected by,” she tells the New York Times. “We need to take a step back and look at the loneliness, and the joblessness, and the racial disparities, so that we can understand how to help different communities that were disproportionately affected.”
Brown, who played herself in the Amy Poehler movie Wine Country, also spoke about the individual impacts of this moment and how people are all dealing with it on a personal level. “If there was ever a time to avoid working your stuff out on other people, this is it,” she said.
Her most salient advice for getting through this time seems to be the most simple: “We have to be intentional about choosing kindness and generosity.”