Super Soul Sunday
Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/PT
Posted: Wed 09/11/2013 12:00 AM
Photo: Danny Clark
As unique as we all are, an awful lot of us want the same things. We want to shake up our current less-than-fulfilling lives. We want to be happier, more loving, forgiving and connected with the people around us. So...we make decisions ("I'm going to hang out with happy people!"); we give ourselves lectures ("If you'd just stop feeling guilty, you'd able to do what you want); and we strive for markers of that accomplishment ("Just go to the completely intimidating party and meet one person!").
Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, author of The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly and research professor at the University of Houston, has spent the last 12 years figuring out what keeps us from living—despite our best efforts—the kind of wholehearted, fully involved existences that we're trying to lead. It turns out that a lot of the assumptions we hold so dear and we believe will turn around everything are...well...just plain wrong.
Read on to find out why! Then, tune in Sunday at 11 a.m. ET/PT for her all-new interview with Oprah. Watch only on OWN.
1. Fitting In Is Not Belonging
There are so many terms we use every day whose meanings are gauzy, if not downright imprecise—which makes it hard to get your head around what's really going on in your life. For example, contrary to what most of us think: Belonging is not fitting in. In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Fitting in, I've discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely—it's showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are—love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all.
Many us suffer from this split between who we are and who we present to the world in order to be accepted, (Take it from me: I'm an expert fitter-inner!) But we're not letting ourselves be known, and this kind of incongruent living is soul-sucking.
In my research, I've interviewed a lot of people who never fit in, who are what you might call "different": scientists, artists, thinkers. And if you drop down deep into their work and who they are, there is a tremendous amount of self-acceptance. Some of them have to scrap for it, like the rest of us, but most are like this neurophysicist I met who, essentially, told me, "My parents didn't care that I wasn't on the football team, and my parents didn't care that I was awkward and geeky. I was in a group of kids at school who translated books into the Klingon language. And my parents were like, ‘Awesome!' They took me to the Star Trek convention!" He got his sense of belonging from his parents' sense of belonging, and even if we don't get that from Mom and Dad, we have to create it for ourselves as adults—or we will always feel as if we're standing outside of the big human party.
The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect. When we don't have that, we shape-shift and turn into chameleons; we hustle for the worthiness we already possess.
Posted: Sun 09/08/2013 02:01 PM
Dr. Maya Angelou's latest book, Mom & Me & Mom, chronicles the deepest personal story of her life: The relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter—a former nurse who ran her own gambling club, pool hall and boarding house. She was as fiery as she was nurturing. Dr. Angelou called her Lady.
Like a lot of mothers and daughters, their relationship was powerful yet complicated. When Dr. Angelou stopped speaking after she was sexually assaulted at age 7, Vivian sent her and her brother to live with their grandmother in Rural Stamps, Arkansas. When Maya turned 13, Vivian called them home to San Francisco. It was at that time Dr. Angelou truly got to know her mother.
Dr. Angelou says the love of her mother, Vivian Baxter, encouraged her to live a life full of pizzazz. It was also that love that helped Dr. Angelou to become the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco at age 16. "I loved the uniforms," Dr. Angelou says. "So I said, 'That's a job I want.'" When she went to get an application, Dr. Angelou says, the staff refused to give her one. Watch below to see how her mother encouraged her to persevere—and find out how Vivian made sure her daughter was safe at work during early-morning shifts.
Dr. Angelou says that to describe her mother "would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power." One particular story from Dr. Angelou's life brings that to light. Watch below to find out how Vivian led the charge to rescue young Maya from an abusive boyfriend, who was holding her against her will for days:
Though Dr. Angelou says Vivian was a "terrible" mother for young children, she was a "fantastic" mother for young adults. When Dr. Angelou was 22 years old, Vivian told her something that changed her life forever. Watch below to find out what it was:
Posted: Sun 09/08/2013 02:01 PM
It's time for another round of life's big questions, this time with up-and-coming spiritual teachers Gabrielle Bernstein, Mastin Kipp and Marie Forleo. What's the difference between religion and spirituality? How do they each define God? What are they grateful for? Watch and get their enlightening answers.
More About Marie, Mastin and Gabrielle
Posted: Sun 09/08/2013 02:00 PM
Last week, Oprah and Dr. Maya Angelou reminisced about some of the most meaningful moments of her extraordinary journey, and she gave us new insight into boundless accomplishments in her remarkable life.
Now, the conversation continues. Watch below as Dr. Angelou opens up about aging, the aha! moment that still moves her to tears and the best advice she ever received.
At age 85, Dr. Angelou is now a great-grandmother and still taking the world by storm with her writing, full schedule of speaking engagements and active Twitter account. Find out why she says she gets more grateful as she gets older.
The Revelation That Changed Maya Angelou's Life
When she was in her 20s, Dr. Maya Angelou discovered the Unity Church. Founded in 1889, Unity is a Christian movement that emphasizes affirmative prayer and education as a path to spirituality. Watch as she is moved to tears while recalling the revelation that changed her life forever.
The Best Advice She Ever Gave—and Received
Dr. Maya Angelou's wisdom has inspired countless people around the world, but what does she say is the best advice she's ever given? Find out what it is and to whom she gave it. Plus, get the best advice Dr. Angelou ever received.
Posted: Sun 09/08/2013 02:00 PM
On "Super Soul Sunday", Oprah has talked with some of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time. Now, she's sitting down with three up-and-comers poised to become the next generation of spiritual thinkers. The ideas of Gabrielle Bernstein, Mastin Kipp and Marie Forleo are timely, fresh and full of hope. Below, watch four clips from their conversation and tell us how their thoughts are inspiring you below in comments!
9 Ways to Become More Spiritual
Why Women in Their 20s Are Yearning for Fulfillment
How Not to Let the World Pass You By
How the Next Generation Finds God in the Everyday
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