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Braving the Wilderness, by Brené Brown

Braving the Wilderness, by Brené Brown 1024 581 BodyWHealth

Brené Brown has become a much-loved, worldly speaker and author, who has invited us to learn from her magical life journey. Her new book, Braving the Wilderness, heralds a wonderful new chapter for us all.I frequently think back to the turbulence of my teenage years. If you’re hoping to hear me go on to share gruesome details of a dysfunctional childhood, then you’re going to be disappointed. Sorry.

I’m talking about the same pain that every teenager must grow through as we establish our own independent identity.

If you remember your own teenage struggle or have children that have recently been through these exciting years, you will be quick to point out to me that the angst was not so much about independence. It was the pain of belonging.

And if you’re honest, you’ll be quick to add that the fear of not belonging, didn’t go away on your twentieth birthday! It is a universal human experience—an immense psychic pain—that we feel intermittently throughout our lives.

This is where Brené Brown begins her new book, Braving the Wilderness.

I’m a big fan of Brené.

I hope that you will read her new book. I hope even more that you will start by reading her other best-sellers, especially Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong.

Brown is a well-recognized social science researcher and studies topics that are so interesting that her books have immense popular appeal. But the real joy has come from watching her grow in confidence and consciousness through her work.

Her early research in shame led her to the study of vulnerability, which in turn led her to the science of resilience. In the most endearing way, her research and writing parallel her beautiful personal journey.

Braving the Wilderness is another giant leap forward as she grapples with a thorny question—how to belong without disappearing into the crowd. Her courage in addressing this fundamental tension should inspire our own journeys.

Her conclusion is surprising, even provocative.

The secret to belonging is having the strength to stand alone!

It is easy to belong by slipping into a crowd, blending meaninglessly into the background, our own color and vitality surrendered to the group. But the price of this belonging is high! We sacrifice the right to individuality and self-expression, and with that we give up true happiness.

“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

In her words, true belonging “is a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are.”

When we get this right, we earn “the freedom to express our individuality without fear of jeopardizing that belonging.”

But it’s not easy. In fact, it’s so challenging to stand alone that she uses the term “wilderness” to graphically depict this state of being.

“Belonging to ourselves means being called to stand alone—to brave the wilderness of uncertainty, vulnerability, and criticism.”

The book outlines four principles that facilitate true belonging, expressed in Brown’s colorful and direct language. Growing up in the back-country of Texas, she is not prone to using gentle epithet or veiled suggestion. She tells it the way it is … politely, but unambiguously!

Although, for me, the book is slightly lacking in its intellectual framework, it is packed with gems of insight and advice—a rich playground for those interested in their own wellbeing.

I highly recommend Braving the Wilderness to anyone who is serious about their own journey of growth and discovery.

Have fun,