Atlas of the Heart Summary – September 2022

Author: Brené Brown

Short Summary
Atlas of the Heart (2021) is your guide to knowing to understand, and processing your emotions. Knowing what you feel and processing feelings is a tough task that confuses all of us but to live a balanced life we need to learn to navigate our emotions.
atlas of the heart summary

Detailed Summary

Over the centuries humans evolved. Our bodies changed themselves to suit our environment, technology changed the way we worked, the foods we consumed changed their form and shape, and just like that our emotions evolved too. Earlier life was maybe able to categorize emotions into happy and sad but today emotions are of different types and different magnitudes. A normal human living today faces despair, loss, bewilderment, emptiness, excitement, and many more feelings in a short span of time. His environment is filled with stimuli that can make him feel things in seconds.

This is why navigating our emotions is a little hard, we are not just happy or sad. There are many grey areas between them. Atlas of the Heart summary places emphasis on the need to know what we feel. It shows us that by using language to label our emotions, we can learn to deal with them. Dealing with our emotions can lead to a better relationship with ourselves and a better relationship with everyone around us. It can improve the quality of our lives by making us feel more grounded and in control.

Atlas of the Heart Summary Key points

Emotions Help us Navigate Our Lives

Most of us operate in a way that puts our emotions in the back seat. We take what we feel and what others feel and put it after our rational thoughts, commitments, work, and relationships. But what if you try to see emotions and feelings as tools?  The truth is that emotions can help you navigate things that are simple and things that are hard.

 Consider these two examples. Your mother really likes to see you up early. After waking up early you can even have a slow morning but she would not mind. On the other hand, when you oversleep she gets mad. After waking up late you can work, do all the chores, and stay active but it would not matter. If you are a careful observer you will use this situation to take care of your mother’s emotions as well as yours. You can wake up early and make her happy. You will also feel pleasant and relaxed by not seeing her mad. In this way, it becomes a win-win situation. Similarly, you can observe other people’s triggers and not mention them. If a particular habit of yours angers your boss, you observe it and try to not do that thing the next time. This approach will allow you to mend your relationships in all spheres of life.

Escapism is not Going to Help

People who feel a lot or are hypersensitive, mostly do not know what to do with their emotions. A person cannot blame them, because the intensity of what they feel is too high. It gets hard for them to navigate their and others’ emotions sometimes. When such people are at the receiving end of bad treatment, they get hurt easily. As a reaction, most people try to escape.

 You must have heard the phrase: ‘drowning sorrows in a bottle of booze.  So many people including Brené Brown have turned to alcohol as a way to escape their emotions. Brené Brown later found her way out by consulting a therapist. This is why, as ordinary humans before we turn to something harmful in order to escape what we feel we need to know that it would not help in the long term. Escapism only makes you feel better for a while but it messes up your life and mental health in the long term. So please understand that your feelings are valid, there is a way to improve the situation, seek help and talk to someone.

What’s Wrong? I do not know

Well if you rush to emergency and a Dr.  Asks you what’s wrong and your answer is I don’t know. The doctor cannot help you.  Just like we need to explain what part of the body hurts, long how it has been hurting, what kind of pain it is: continuous or momentary, and how often it happens, we also need to learn to explain our feelings.

The Atlas of Heart Summary explains this through Brené Brown’s method of learning emotional vocabulary. People cannot understand what they are feeling. If you ask them they will just categorize their emotions into happy angry or sad. Most of the time they are feeling something totally different. Now if your diagnosis is wrong there is no way that you will be treated rightly. Having the right words to identify your feelings will take you to the next step. Now that you know what you feel you need to figure out why you are feeling it. After understanding the reason, you can move towards rectifying your situation.

Atlas of the Heart Quotes

“People will do almost anything to not feel pain, including causing pain and abusing power” –Brené Brown

“Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run, but it will never make you less afraid.” –Brené Brown

Atlas of the Heart Summary Review

Atlas of the Heart will allow you to understand and welcome your emotions. It is a beautiful guide towards approaching your emotional and vulnerable side and learning how to use what you feel in order to improve your life. If you have struggled to deal with your emotional side and feeling Atlas of the Heart Summary is for you.

To Whom I Would Recommend Atlas of the Heart

  • To the twenty-five-year-old going through separation who needs encouragement to face his emotions.
  • To the teen is often bullied and labeled as overly emotional and hypersensitive.
  • And to anyone scared of opening up and sharing what they feel.
Atlas of the Heart Summary - September 2022

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