Ep 105: Book Club: Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown

An atlas is a book or collection of maps. Many atlases also contain facts and history about certain places. There are many kinds of specialized atlases, such as road atlases and historical atlases. There are also star atlases, which give the location and placement of stars, planets and other celestial objects.

The maps in atlases show geographic features, the topography of an area’s landscape and various boundaries.

So… Why am I talking about Atlases?

What does that have to do with language, emotions, connection and self-awareness?

Stay with me and I’ll explain.

In case you’re new here, I am obsessed with learning about connection.

“Studying the connection between how we think, feel, and act” is intriguing to me.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an Atlas that could show the connection between our feelings and emotions? 

What if we were able to use the words that describe our feelings better?

How would our relationships improve if we could communicate in a way that both sides understood what we were really trying to say?

Have you ever been in one of those conversations where you just couldn’t find the right words to describe what you were feeling so you could help someone else understand you?

Brene Brown says:

“Language is our portal to meaning-making, connection, healing, learning, and self-awareness.”

We need to be able to access the right words to describe how we feel if we want to connect better.  This is what will give us the power to understand each other.

I didn’t really know what I was needing to help give me this language until I started reading Brene Brown’s newest book, “Atlas of the Heart” and now I know why it’s so hard to communicate what I’m feeling sometimes.

Two words that you think mean the same thing, actually aren’t, and she shows you why.

For example:

Stressed is like being in the weeds.

Overwhelmed is being blown.

Overwhelmed is an extreme level of stress.  Completely overcome or overpowered by thought or feeling.

So, in hopes of being able to use words that express emotions and feelings, I’ve decided that this would be a great book to read for our next Book Club book.

In “Atlas of the Heart” Brene Brown takes 87 emotions and experiences and organizes them into groups.

I find the way she groups them in the different chapters, almost as interesting as the definitions themselves.

Here’s what the jacket cover says to describe the book:

In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances—a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.
Brown shares, “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us, because I believe that, with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves.”

I thought that was so insightful!  With the right maps, we can go anywhere without losing ourselves!  It’s kind of a deep thought, but if you’ve ever tried explaining your feelings, it does feel like bringing someone into a place that’s unfamiliar when you don’t have the right words to describe what you’re feeling.

If you at least know what you’re trying to explain, you won’t feel lost.  One person that isn’t lost can guide the other.  If you both have the same language, then that’s when connection really happens.

Another book review I read said:

“Atlas of the Heart maps out a series of human emotions and their meaning and explores the psychology behind a human’s feelings and how they make up our lives and change our behaviors, and how to build meaningful connections by learning how to deal with them.

It is focused on 13 key themes – as we travel through areas of emotions, traits, states and language. The book is about the connection and awareness of self and others.”

I’m excited for you to get a hold of this book so we can discuss some of your ah-ha moments.

Each chapter is stated as a place where we go when (blank).

To me, it put collections of emotions into more understandable groupings.

You probably don’t understand what I mean by that, and I tried to find a better way to explain how she put together the chapters.

Here’s a few examples:

Chapter 2: Places We Go When We Compare: comparison, admiration, reverence, envy, jealousy, resentment, schadenfreude, fruedenfreude

Chapter 6: Places We Go When We’re Hurting: anguish, hopelessness, despair, sadness, grief

Chapter 11: Places We Go When Life Is Good: joy, happiness, calm, contentment, gratitude, foreboding joy, relief, tranquility

Kinda cool huh!

Anyway, I’m super excited to come back in three months and talk about it with you.

Until then, I’ve got lots of great things going on.  I’m actually taking a pretty intense class to get certified in relationship coaching.  I can’t wait to share more about that with you really soon!  I’m excited to see where this leads for me and for what I share on the podcast!  I hope you’ll stick with me.

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Thanks for joining me here today and remember:

I see you.  I understand how hard you’re trying, and I’d like to help however I can.

Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you back here next week.

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Ep 105: Book Club: Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown