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Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Hardcover – September 12, 2017
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Praise for Brené Brown’s Rising Strong
“[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
Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation–Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong. Her TED talk—“The Power of Vulnerability”—is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world, with more than thirty million views. Brown lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve, and their children, Ellen and Charlie.
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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.
Like all of Brene Brown's books, this one is life-transforming. I would recommend that everyone--everyone--read each book of hers, in order, and this one last, as it is the culmination of all of the other books. But even better, buy this book, read it, go back and read the others and then read this again! This is the best of all of her books, as well as a prescription for being alive now, of being a citizen, a human being, a kind and caring and loving person--now--at this time in history. It is about how to be brave, kind, and good--no matter what your faith or lack of faith--and of dealing with the fractionalization of our country and of moving towards a re-humanizing (as opposed to dehumanizing) of our communities and families and other relationships, of transforming conflict in brave and true ways.
The book's theme is "true belonging", which the author defines as: "...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." This might sound a bit unusual, but the book unfolds this idea in beautiful ways that truly will appeal to every reader--no matter what your ideology (including religious and political), no matter what your race, gender, or background.
Read this book; I cannot convey in a review how much it has the potential to change your life for the better. I read it yesterday and today in two sittings and am going back again and again to the writing, the ideas, and the inspiration to me to life more authentically and to be able to connect with others in deeper and braver ways.
This is the book that I needed now.
I needed to be reminded that respect begins with respect to myself.
I belong to me.
This is the lesson that I want to teach my children.
The only way to teach is by example.
Thank you, Brene.