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Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Paperback – August 27, 2019
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“[Brown’s] research and work have given us a new vocabulary, a way to talk with each other about the ideas and feelings and fears we’ve all had but haven’t quite known how to articulate. . . . [She] empowers us each to be a little more courageous.”—The Huffington Post
“It is inevitable—we will fall. We will fail. We will not know how to react or what to do. No matter how or when it happens, we will all have a choice—do we get up or not? Thankfully, Brené Brown is there with an outstretched arm to help us up.”—Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last
“With a fresh perspective that marries research and humor, Brown offers compassion while delivering thought-provoking ideas about relationships—with others and with oneself.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
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I live a sad life. I have no friends and I'm lonely... So lonely that as I type this I feel like crying, even though I accepted this as my reality a long time ago. I cancelled facebook two years ago. I lost my last real friend three years ago. I struggle to call and make appointments because it requires talking to strangers, and for this reason I also can't go to the grocery store, or the gas station, or any other list of a hundred places that normal people go to have normal lives.
You see, I decided five years ago that I was done with fitting in, and that I'd rather be lonely and alone, than to continue immersing myself in a world I found caustic.
Everywhere I looked people seemed to be shouting, trying to make their voices heard. The most recent clever story on facebook. The most wittily stated opinion. I didn't see kindness, I saw intolerance and rudeness. I saw people ripping each other down through the medium of social media because they didn't have to look that person in the face, and see how their comments hurt them. Then I watched as that attitude seemed to make people less tolerant in the real world as well. I wanted no part of it anymore. From that point on I was standing alone, and that was that. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but as the years have passed, I've cut myself so far off from humanity that it feels like I'm the only person left in my world. It hurts, SO much, but I don't know how to undo it. I don't know how to go back.
At least...I didn't. I know this review is already too long, and all I've done is clumsily muddle my way through it—attempting to express something I don't even know if others will understand. This is frustrating for me, because I don't want to talk about myself, and doing so is terrifying, particularly after so many years of silence. But I didn't know how else to express the impact this book had on me, without first talking about how much pain I've been in, and how nefarious my reasons for reading it in the first place. I got the "standing alone" part down pat. I did that years ago. The part I couldn't find, that maybe I'd never have found on my own, is the part where I know how to belong to something again. Join the world. Feel a connection to life and humanity.
I cried just about the entire duration of this book. I got it because it sounded "interesting", but I feel like it opened up a hole in the side of my sad little world. I didn't think it would apply to me, but it's changed my life. I expected to write an honest, clinical review discussing its contents from a dispassionate point of view. But instead, here I am, still clumsily attempting to convey my feelings in the hopes that some part of this review might encourage even one other person to read this book.
Everyone should read this book. Everyone who wants to stand alone, but still belong. Everyone who already is alone, and wants to be a part of something again. Everyone who is tired of a humanity that is separated. Give it a shot. If nothing else, get the sample chapters, and see if there's something in it that might speak to you.
And if my review is clumsy, I sincerely apologize. Please don't let that turn you off from the book. It changed my life, and I think it can do as much for many.
EDIT: It's been 6 months since I wrote this review, and when I said this book changed my life, it did. Oh, how it did! I got into therapy. I've made some friends who share my interests, and even many of my anxieties. I no longer feel lonely or threatened. If anyone out there struggles as I did, please know that help is available, and change is possible. All it takes is one moment that changes all other moments. For me, that was this book! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of you who have supported me, and supported each other. Humanity is far more wonderful than I once believed!!!
I understand we all process pain and trauma differently, and that her experiences have been no less excruciating than my own due to the odd and flexible concept of relativity... but! it's just very hard to relate to someone who name drops Maya Angelou.
Much of her book relates back to her career, support system, faith, and how it all synergistically worked out when she decided to stand up to life.
Though off to a bit of a rocky start, she made it through higher education into a career. She relies on (and has in abundance) faith and a strong support network to keep her going. Her version of alone looks nothing like mine, whereas I find myself completely isolated in my old hometown, no relevant work history in a rural community devoid of opportunities, childless, faithless, without friends or family.
The struggles are different, but the pain is the same. Maybe? I can't help but think if we were both out hiking in the wilderness and each fell into a ravine, she'd get rescued while I'd slowly die of sepsis after being punctured by a large, pointy, fallen branch. Cats, as it were, don't dial 911. Standing apart and being alone are two very different things.
I hear what she's saying, I really do. That we have to be brave, that we cannot rely on others to provide belief in us when we do not have such confidence in ourselves. But the way she presents this is more of, "How to capitalize on past success and current fame," rather than, "How to reach out to those struggling, lost in the wilderness, and help them see their way safely through the dangerous terrain without being eaten by a bear (or the expectations of society.)"
There were touching passages, but she lost me after she listed all the businesses she runs and owns and how haaaaard it all is.
Yes, Ms. Brown, it's hard. It's all so very hard.
Top international reviews
'True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.'
And now I will put some of it into practice by asking,, #Amazon, Goodreads, why must I add five more words when I am happy with my succinct review? Tell me more about why this is important to you. X
In Braving the Wilderness, Brene uses her life experience discuss, how in life sometimes you don’t fit in. And how to deal with it.
Some of the advice includes “Strong back - Soft front - Wild heart”, “Hold Hands - With Strangers”, “Speak Truth to Bullshit - Be Civil”, “People are hard to hate close up - Move in”
She takes the reader through each of these pieces of advice, again, using her own life experience. For example,“Speak Truth to Rubbish - Be Civil” is where people may speak a belief or “fake news” where you know that what they are saying is incorrect. She explains what to do and for you to understand the consequences, which may mean you need to “brave the wilderness”.