Mapping Meaningful Connections

My latest read on my self-awareness and development fumble through life is Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart. Brown’s is a renound researcher and author of experiences that make us who we are. This book takes the reader through 87 emotions and experiences that define what it is to be human.

The back cover explanation says that Brown’s maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, giving us the language and tools to access new choices and second chances.

The book groups those 87 emotions and experiences into categories:

  1. Places we go when things are uncertain or too much – stress, overwhelm, anxiety, worry, avoidance, excitement, dread, fear, vulnerability
  2. Places we go when we compare – comparison, admiration, reverence, envy, jealousy, resentment, schadenfreude, freudenfreude
  3. Places we go when things don’t go as planned – boredom, disappointment, expectations, regret,discouragement, resignation, frustration
  4. Places we go when its beyond us – awe, wonder, confusion, curiosity, interest, surprise
  5. Places we go when things aren’t what they seem – amusement, bittersweetness, nostalgia, cognitive dissonance, paradox, irony, sarcasm
  6. Places we go when we’re hurting – anguish, hopelessness, despair, sadness, grief
  7. Places we go with others – compassion, pity, empathy, sympathy, boundaries, comparative suffering
  8. Places we go when we fall short – shame, self-compassion, perfectionism, guilt, humiliation, embarrassment
  9. Places we go when we search for connections – belonging, fitting in, connection, disconnection, insecurity, invisibility, loneliness
  10. Places we go when the heart is open – love, lovelessness, heartbreak, trust, self-trust, betrayal, defensiveness, flooding, hurt
  11. Places we go when life is good – joy, happiness, calm, contentment, gratitude, foreboding, joy, relief, tranquility
  12. Places we go when we feel wronged – anger, contempt, disgust, dehumanisation, hate, self-righteousness
  13. Places we go to self-assess – pride, hubris, humility

I haven’t really got into it yet but just reading through the introduction I get a sense of its going to be a good read. Brown is honest and open about her own life challenges and hope they shaped the person she is today. Its backed up with empirical research and real life examples.

I’ll keep you posted with what I learn.


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