Book Review: Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown

9781785041754

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place, you belong every place, no place at all.” ― Maya Angelou

This is my first Brene Brown book I have read and I kick myself why haven’t I read more of her work. I certainly hope it is not the last. I love her TED talk on The Power of  Vulnerability.

In this book Brene deals with something that we usually don’t think much about: Belonging vs. Standing out.

Do you belong, fit in or do you stand out, misfit, outlier?

We fit in because we want to belong, because we feel safe when we belong, we feel comforted when we are in the company of people we can trust.

What happens when you are rejected by the people you want to fit into?

What happens when you lose yourself while in the process of fitting in?

On the other side, Brene raises the question, of what happens when you decide to stand your ground, even when it means standing alone? Being in the wilderness?

What happens when speaking truth to power means being isolated? Being in the wilderness?

Throughout this book, Brene beautiful navigates the beauty and dangers of belonging, and the beauty and dangers of not belonging, of braving the wilderness?

Maya Angelou’s quote of belonging, forms a spine, the through-line of this book. Brene keeps coming back to this quote and she carefully weaves and crafts her arguments about true belonging and being in the wilderness.

Rating

8/10

I loved this book, I’m sure I will reread it again because there are many deep concepts that I will need to revisit.

Multiple times when reading this book I had to put it down, close my eyes and reflect.

Braving the Wilderness is an eye opener. It’s a powerful book.

If you are seeking true connection and the feeling you belong because of who you uniquely are, read this book.

Towards the end of the book, I got this quote that woke me up hard:

“If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.”

Favourite quotes:

  • “Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”
  • “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

  • “True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.”
  • “Pain is unrelenting. It will get our attention. Despite our attempts to drown it in addiction, to physically beat it out of one another, to suffocate it with success and material trappings, or to strangle it with our hate, pain will find a way to make itself known.”
  • “Research shows that playing cards once a week or meeting friends every Wednesday night at Starbucks adds as many years to our lives as taking beta blockers or quitting a pack-a-day smoking habit.”
  • “Living with air pollution increases your odds of dying early by 5 percent. Living with obesity, 20 percent. Excessive drinking, 30 percent. And living with loneliness? It increases our odds of dying early by 45 percent.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s