Braving the Wilderness
To be truly honest, I've had a hard time reading Brené Brown's books. I've typically made it through 20 or so pages before becoming enthralled in another read. If I can have another moment of honesty, I think I stopped reading her books because they were hitting too close to home on aspects of myself I knew I needed to work on.
When I began Braving the Wilderness, something was different than when I started the rest of her books. I was immediately captured with her storytelling. Part of it could have been the fact that this book does not have a large prologue before her research is discussed. Another part could've been that the last word on the first page is "bullshit." I really like it when authors swear.
The book begins with a sentence I could relate to on a deep level.
Many of the things I truly enjoy doing, I have to face a large amount of fear and anxiety rush through my system before I can begin. To write for an audience can be terrifying, so I allow myself to think no one is reading my words until it is too late to un-publish a post. I've been wanting to write a novel since I could read, but I constantly feel afraid of having written a book and finding out it isn't good. Knowing Brené is dealing with the same fear allowed me to connect with her as an author and to start digging deep into her research within this latest book.
Digging into the book may be an understatement. I began devouring the words in any spare moment I could find. I realized I was underlining passages she was quoting from earlier in the book, the same passages I had underlined hours before. The concept of braving the wilderness rang true to me so hard, especially since it boils down to being true to you and your beliefs while also creating community instead of an "us vs. them" dichotomy.
The four main "steps" to braving the wilderness are:
- People are hard to hate close up. Move in.
- Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil.
- Hold hands. With strangers.
- Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.
While they may look simple on paper (or this blog post), they are incredibly difficult to do. Brené warns of losing friends, for some of our relationships are based on gossip and bad mouthing others. It is difficult to see that there are issues in the world we don't agree with, her example being gun control, but we all need to come together to make a drastic change. We all need to humanize one another, even if we do not agree with the person who is being treated poorly.I know I am not perfect when it comes to these steps, and to be honest, I am terrified of seeing what working on myself may do. I want to create a community with my neighbors, to stop dehumanizing people in words, thoughts, and actions, and to be vulnerable every single day to do what is right and what is just.
Brené's book is phenomenal. I am planning on keeping the book near my desk at home for the next few weeks, allowing myself to pick it up and re-read the passages of which I have underlined. When I begin a new job at a new office, I will take my copy with me to that desk as a reminder to be vulnerable, to create a community, and to always do the right thing. I can only hope you have the opportunity to read this book and take away the lessons of which I have learned. I want you to be a part of my community.