This quote by Brene Brown used to be one of my favorites, from her book Braving the Wilderness: “strong back, soft front, wild heart.” In essence, it means having strong moral conviction and identity, learning to be vulnerable, and letting your heart lead you. I’d recite it in the context of leadership, either in an interpersonal sense or with regards to church or work.
I no longer believe this to be true.
Strong back? Sure. Know who you are and what you believe.
Wild heart? Yes. Let it lead you where it may.
Soft front? No.
Guard your heart. Don’t share your secrets with those who mean you wrong. “Pearls before swine” is such a Christian phrase, but it makes sense here. Don’t let your soft, sensitive innards get trampled by pigs.
I’ve seen friends be emotionally blackmailed by those in pursuit of some agenda. It’s happened in places where trust should have been paramount.
It happened to me recently. After I gave more than a few days’ thought to those responses to my [REDACTED] posts from last month, I realized they weren’t intended to call me into account. They were intended to hurt, to twist the knife further while I was trying to own up to my behavior. They wanted me to feel like shit.
Hey buddy, I have depression. That’s already the case.
I’ve been trying to establish better boundaries, and this is just one result. This isn’t the only place where I’ve cut back on discussing my personal life — I’m trying to cut back on social media at large. (And yes, comments are gone for good. Want to say something? Email me.)
I can’t have a soft front anymore. Sorry, Brene Brown, but vulnerability only works with those acting in good faith.
Guard your wild heart.