Brene’ Brown makes a wish in this book: “I wish there was a secret handshake for the wild heart club.” Well, I wish there was a secret handshake for people who have read her work or listened to her speak! Maybe a button or something. Brene’ Brown is a one-woman revolution. We need her work, and after we drink it in, we need to DO her work. Braving the Wilderness is perhaps her most important message yet. Essentially, it’s about how we rebuild our culture and sense of unity in the face of worsening polarization. How can we create more of a feeling of belonging despite our conflicting values?
Words that come up in Brown’s research: Blame. Rage. Cynicism. Distrust. Fear. Loneliness. Contempt.
As much as we recognize these universal emotions, it is almost absurdly challenging for us to acknowledge that people we perceive as our rivals, our competitors, our opponents, or our enemies feel precisely the same way.
Vulnerability and shame are themes throughout Brown’s work, and we recognize how these interior feelings are magnified from the social to the cultural level. So this is what happens when we deny our darker emotions!
One of the qualities that makes Brown such a superstar is that she transcends regional, cultural, and political differences. Everyone feels like she belongs... to US! She’s able to straddle so many divides in such a totally unique way. This book will push a few buttons, but it does it magnanimously and fairly. Everyone gets a turn.
I am heartily in favor of Brown’s call for a return to civility. It’s not that difficult to practice; often all it involves is not joining in or piling on when someone else makes a snarky comment. Another simple, easy, relaxing way to achieve civility is to avoid introducing political topics. I consider it a victory when I have no idea what someone’s political affiliation is, and an additional level of triumph when I participate in an event where politics are irrelevant. For instance, we’re probably evenly divided in my public speaking club, but I genuinely couldn’t guess the alignment of about 90% of my fellow members. It’s better that way. We can and do share stories, laughter, hugs, and high fives, enjoying each other’s company, face to face. Almost every social gathering and event could be this way. All it takes is reminding ourselves that we share most things in common, and the most important of these common traits are mutual affection and respect.
“He likes you way more than you like you.”
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
“Is there a faster, easier way to make friends with a stranger than to talk smack about someone you both know?... I don’t really know you, nor am I invested in our relationship, but I do like that we hate the same people and have contempt for the same ideas.”
“When we’re suffering, many of us are better at causing pain than feeling it.”
“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong.”
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.