Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart

1 season

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Insight into the language of emotion and how we can find our way back to one another in the midst of the disconnection so many of us are experiencing.


A researcher and storyteller with a PhD in Social Work, Dr. Brené Brown has studied the connection between courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy for the past two decades. Brené’s recent book, Atlas of the Heart, is a culmination of her research, exploring 87 of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. This five-part docuseries, based on her book, explores the geography of the heart and mind when we’re under duress.  

The docuseries includes film clips, audience interaction, and short interviews with the experts she spoke to while researching. Brené’s warmth, quintessentially-Texan-y’all’s, and self-deprecating humor feel like an exhale, guiding the viewer through the potential intensity of navigating difficult emotions with a sense of, “This might be challenging, but we’re in this together.” It’s an uplifting and encouraging series that leaves viewers reflecting on both themselves and those around them.

Emily's thoughts

The first book of Brené’s that I read was Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, which was published in September 2017, a time when I was personally waking up to the disconnect between what my former community preached and how they were acting. I admire that Brené, a fellow Texan, is consistently very clear about policies that harm people, and is also known for quotes such as, “People are hard to hate close up. Move in. Speak truth. Hold hands. With strangers.”

Having read Brené’s book Atlas of the Heart, I still devoured the series soon after it premiered, immediately recommending it to friends and family across the ideological spectrum. At the end of the day, we all just want to belong and to feel safe and heard. Learning how to navigate our own difficult and uncomfortable emotions is the first step to countering dehumanization and moving towards mutual vulnerability, empathy, and curiosity. If we’re ever going to find our way back to one another, I think Atlas is a meaningful place to start.