When Glennon Doyle Melton, author of the newest Oprah’s Book Club pick, Love Warrior, hit rock bottom once again, she realized she couldn’t keep avoiding her real problems—it was time to deal with the core issues that had plagued her for decades. Similarly, writer and social scientist Brené Brown has long been guided by these words from her Texas grandmother:

“You can’t run from trouble. Ain’t no place that far.”

Brené’s most recent book, Rising Strong, is a powerful antidote to the human tendency to bury our heads in the sand. So it’s kismet that Brené and Glennon found each other and collaborated on a project that turbocharges the idea that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Working together, the two devised a blueprint, a step-by-step plan to help people improve their lives by taking charge of their life stories. The resulting e-course, The Wisdom of Story, can be found here. Here’s an exclusive worksheet to help you get going.

At one time or another in our lives, we all face crises. These may be minor dustups that feel major as we’re going through them, or they may be moments of true devastation, crossroads that will redefine us. How do we prepare to face these challenges? How do we do the work necessary to engage in the parts of life that are "brutiful"—the term Glennon uses for the simultaneous brutality and beauty of our darkest times—with honesty, authenticity, courage, and integrity? The first step is to identify the crutches we lean on when the going gets tough and pinpoint how they may be stunting our emotional growth.

The following behaviors are what Glennon and Brené call offloading devices, the easy buttons we push instead of acknowledging we’re in pain. Here are some questions to help you think about which ones you’ve engaged in and consider how that played out. These examples will get you started:

Is it easier for you to get mad and lash out than to say “I’m hurt”?

When a challenging situation arises, do you jump right to faultfinding, payback, or pointing the finger at anyone in your path instead of looking within?

When your emotions start to bubble up in a conflict, is your reflex to respond, “Whatever. I’m fine. No big deal”? Have you perfected the art of cool, pretending all’s well when it’s really not?

Do you regularly take the edge off emotional pain with alcohol, food, drugs, sex, shopping, perfectionism?

Which of the offloading-hurt behaviors do you find yourself using most?

When do you offload hurt in this way?

With whom do you act this way?

What is one strategy you can use to stop offloading hurt and start owning your feelings?

Does it feel a little uncomfortable to look back on that time you expressed extreme road rage with a coworker as witness? Or after that bad day at the office when you let loose on your unsuspecting spouse? Or when you got your 401(k) statement and saw that all your borrowing had left it nearly empty? In this case, discomfort is good! It brings you one step closer to understanding how being truthful about your own story—and sharing it with others—can be transformative. With assistance from Glennon and Brené, you can find a new level of comfort, one born of knowing you haven’t run from trouble—you took it on, and it made you stronger and braver.

Glennon and Brené’s four-part e-course can be found on courageworks.com. For 20 percent off, use promo code omag2016.


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