‘Braving the Wilderness’ by Brene Brown

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I often read books with themes that mirror something I’m going through in real life at the time, and I recently found myself picking Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown off the shelf. I first learned about Brene Brown’s research through her TED talks on vulnerability and shame, and over the last few years I’ve drawn so much comfort and inspiration from her books that have helped me to navigate difficult transitions and encouraged me to be more authentic, vulnerable and courageous in my personal life and career.

Braving the Wilderness builds on Brene Brown’s previous books but has a distinctly political edge as she explores how we hide who we really are in order to fit in, and how political rhetoric has become increasingly intolerant, dehumanizing and divisive as leaders call upon their followers to oppose anyone who disagrees with their opinions or values. This book is very much about being curious and listening to other perspectives, as well as being honest about our own, but it’s also about having the moral courage to stand up for what we believe is right even if it means standing alone.

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I find it so easy to relate to Brene Brown, and this is written with the same honesty, humility and humour as her other books, yet it’s not an easy read as it challenged me to reflect on the times when my own fear of criticism, conflict, loneliness and rejection lead me to settle for fitting in instead of belonging, and how sometimes the things we do to avoid feeling pain end up causing us more heartache and suffering in the long run.

Braving the Wilderness didn’t have the profound impact on me that I Thought It Was Just Me or Rising Strong did, but it still feels like a pertinent discussion on how to overcome some of the barriers to communication, understanding and connections in the current socio-political climate. Have a lovely week. X

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