It's a bit out of character (as I love to borrow books from the library and don't love to spend money buying books).. but I bought several Brene Brown books at Target one day several months ago. I didn't read them right away, and they sat on my bookshelf. I recently picked both of them up and devoured "The Gifts of Imperfection" and "Braving the Wilderness." I loved them so much that I highlighted, dog-eared pages, and made notes in the margins of "Gifts of Imperfections." I lent it to a friend--hoping she does the same. I can't wait to read it again after she highlights what stood out to her the most! As for Braving the Wilderness.. I gathered up my favorite quotes and things I want to apply to my life moving forward.
Here are my cliff notes from this super awesome book about The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.
1. People are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In.
Brene's research showed, "The people with "the strongest sense of true belonging stayed zoomed in. They didn't ignore what was happening in the world, nor did they stop advocating for their beliefs. They did, however, commit to assessing their lives and forming their opinions of people based on their actual, in-person experiences."
One of the most courageous things to say in an uncomfortable conversation is "Tell me more." "Help me understand why this is so important to you, or help me understand why you don't agree with a particular idea." And then we have to listen. Really listen. Listen to understand, not about agreeing or disagreeing. We have to listen to understand in the same way we want to be understood.
... still fall back into 'not enough--no pretty enough, not thin enough, not good enough.' One day my therapist asked me a pivotal question: 'What if nothing changes--your looks, your weight, your success--would you be okay?' For the first time, I thought, "You know what? Yes, I would. I really would."
2. Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil.
You're either "with us or against us" .. but "the ability to think past either/or situations is the foundation of critical thinking, but still, it requires courage. It's easier and safer to pick a side. if we stay quiet, we're automatically demonized as "the other."
Brave the wilderness and stand for what you believe in, even if it isn't "either side."
3. Hold Hands. With Strangers.
***** Show up for collective moments of joy and pain so we can actually bear witness to inextricable human connection. *****
In regards to gossip, or connecting with someone by judging and mocking others is not real connection.
"Social media are great for developing community, but for true belonging, real connection and real empathy require meeting real people in a real space in real time."
4. Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.
"Tonight we will exhale and teach. Now it's time to inhale. There is the in-breath and there is the out-breath, and it's easy to believe that we must exhale all the time, without ever inhaling. But the inhale is absolutely essential if you want to continue to exhale."
If we're going to make true belonging a daily practice in our lives, we're going to need a strong back and a soft front. We'll need both courage and vulnerability as we abandon the certainty and safety of our ideological bunkers and head off into the wilderness.
"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."
Some of these quotes may feel out of context, but I encourage you to read the book.
You can borrow mine.