24 Jun The Book Shelf – A review of Braving the Wilderness.
The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brene Brown.
“You are only free when you realise you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” Maya Angelou
Since adolescence and long into her adult life Brene Brown never really felt like she belonged. Until the day finally arrived when she felt compelled to stop accommodating other people at the detriment of her own beliefs and integrity. Inspired by the above quote she began researching; what makes us feel like we truly belong, the difference between belonging and fitting in and what makes us strong enough to stand alone in what she calls the wilderness.
In preparation for this review I read this book twice, not because I loved it but because I struggled to absorb and make sense of it in enough detail to really understand what I had just read.
Maybe that’s because I’ve a six-month-old baby who keeps me fairly sleep deprived and my cognitive ability isn’t quite what it used to be? Or perhaps it is Brene’s style of writing that combines, her research along with story telling that left me confused. Frequently feeling that too many of her personal stories, that didn’t necessarily resonate with me, only helped me to lose the point that the chapter had set out to make.
Having said that, once I sieved through the chapters for a second time the book did make some lovely points.
I absolutely loved the definition of true belonging that came from her research study and how this differed from fitting in.
How she highlighted the connection between true belonging and spirituality and the struggle we all face to stay connected in an increasingly divisive and cynical world.
And how even those strong and independent people who are willing to stand alone in the wilderness, still need a sense of community.
I also learnt that I am a person who feels compelled to give my opinion on all subjects even when I don’t necessarily have the knowledge to do so. And as a result I plan to embrace curiosity and ask more questions.
I felt challenged as the book encouraged me to spend time thinking about my usual response and attitude to those people who have different political and environmental views to myself. And I believe that it’s good to be challenged from time to time.
Who should read this book?
It’s worth saying that I know many people who have loved this booked. And I think it would be a good read for anyone wishing to find true belonging or at least understand what makes people feel like they really do belong.
If you’re a fan of self-help books then this might be one to add to your collection. A quick google search and you’ll find the associated worksheets that make this book a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.
How many stars?
I’m giving Braving the Wilderness 3 out of 5 stars.