Review of Braving the Wilderness

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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Inspiring
  • Concrete Examples
  • Applicable

Review

Qualitative researcher, motivational speaker and best-selling author Brené Brown understands that most people go to great lengths to avoid feeling like an outcast. Today, she writes, maintaining your place in your community often means hunkering down in an “ideological bunker” and pointing fingers at a common enemy. Brown urges you to enter a metaphorical wilderness, find the courage to stand up for what’s right and emerge with renewed faith in the links among all people. Brown’s trademark mix of compassion and tough love fuel a guidebook for people seeking to belong to themselves while connecting with others.

About the Author

Brené Brown is a New York Times best-selling author and University of Houston professor and researcher who studies courage, shame, vulnerability and empathy. One of her TED Talks, The Power of Vulnerability, has more than 30 million views.

 

The feeling of not belonging is one of the most painful human experiences.

Brown understands that not belonging is painful, particularly when people feel that they don’t belong to their own families, “the most primal and important of all of our social groups.” Children who sense they don’t belong create lonely internal narratives in which they are unworthy of love and inclusion. Seemingly small events take on massive importance in a person’s life. Trivializing your own pain by dismissing such injuries makes you less capable of empathizing with other people. 

"True belonging" is the sense of being a part of something and of connecting with others, while maintaining your authenticity, freedom and power.

True belonging, Brown writes, “doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” Experiencing true belonging means sharing your authentic self and trusting that you are part of something even in the face of criticism. That may sound paradoxical, but Brown insists the voyage to true belonging requires confronting and accepting several paradoxes. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung suggested that a paradox is “a great witness to the truth.” In Latin, paradoxum means “seemingly absurd but really true.” Belonging both everywhere and nowhere may sound nonsensical, but it is the secret Brown offers to unlock. 


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