Last Updated on by Vanessa Cast

7 Incredible Things I Learned from Brené Brown
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Braving The Wilderness by Brené Brown

Brené Brown books are very well known for sharing powerful stories about love, empathy, vulnerability, and courage.

I recently read her book Braving The Wilderness and it changed the way I feel and perceive the meaning of true belonging and courage to be who we are.

She always finds a way to fuel me with courage and motivation. The way she walks you through her research and discoveries is nothing less than magical.

Take a look at this awesome excerpt from Braving the Wilderness:

“There will be times when standing alone feels too hard, too scary, and we’ll doubt our ability to make our way through the uncertainty. Someone, somewhere, will say, “Don’t do it. You don’t have what it takes to survive the wilderness.” This is when you reach deep into your wild heart and remind yourself, “I am the wilderness.”

I read this book in one day, and when I feel like giving up or just not being honest with who I am, I always go back and read again some of these magical pages.

"If you're not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback." ―Brené Brown Click To Tweet

Let’s dive into the 7 things I learned from Braving The Wilderness and why I really encourage you to grab one copy and make it part of your personal library.

1. I Belong To Myself

There is a quote from Maya Angelou:

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place―you belong every place―no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”

What I understand from this is that it takes courage to be authentic, to show the world who we really are and be faithful to us.

We love to feel accepted, to truly belong to a community, but we can’t act differently in order to be accepted.

I’m unique, you’re unique, we all have something that makes us unique. If we betray who we are, we are denying our gift to the world.

You can cheat on everybody, but you can’t cheat on yourself. When you accept who you are, when you embrace who you are, happiness comes naturally.

“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.” ―Brené Brown Click To Tweet

Stand alone to brave the wilderness of uncertainty, vulnerability, and criticism is tough. Sometimes we feel like we are in a combat zone.

It’s not easy, it takes courage to stand up for what you believe, to be who you are, but as Maya Angelou said, THE REWARD IS GREAT!

2. The 4 Elements Of True Belonging

Brené Brown explains that 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.

We always want to be part of something larger than us, it’s a primal feeling. But, we can’t do it at the cost of our authenticity, freedom, and power.

The 4 elements of true belonging:

  • 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.

True belonging is not passive. It’s not just joining a group and that’s it. It requires us to be vulnerable and get uncomfortable without sacrificing who we are.

We need to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, share pain and be more curious than defensive. We need to seek moments of joy and togetherness.

3. Loneliness And Being Alone Are Very Different Things

Being alone can be a powerful healing thing. Sometimes we want to be alone to get some things sorted it out or just to quiet our heart and mind.

Loneliness is very different, Brown explains that you feel lonely in places that don’t feel alive with connections.

Quote from Braving The Wilderness

Loneliness tells us that we need social connection. Denying we feel lonely is like denying we are hungry, it makes no sense.

Loneliness is like a warning sign, and the way to respond to that warning sign is by finding connection.

It’s not about joining a bunch of groups or checking with as many friends as we can. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

It doesn’t matter if it’s only one or two relations, go out and talk to real friends and family, people who really care.

If you want to know how serious is the feeling of loneliness. Brené Brown described different studies and that have found the following:

Living with air pollution increases your odds of dying early by 5%.

Living with obesity, 20%.

Excessive drinking, 30%.

And living with loneliness increases our odds of dying early by 45%.

4. Why The “Agree to Disagree” Approach Is Not Healthy?

Sometimes, when we feel overwhelmed, we just silence ourselves and shut down the conversation.

We use to think that this is a way to protect the relationship, but the truth is that this is worst for the relationship than just having “The conversation”.

When we care to understand the actual nature of the disagreement by having a meaningful conversation, the connection, and mutual respect improve.

We need to learn how to navigate differences of opinion, the idea is to drive mutual understanding even if we still disagree.

This is completely different from avoiding the conversation and not learning more about the other party.

5. Neutrality Is Dangerous

I love the quote from Elie Wiesel:

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

This is great because we need to take action, neutrality drives to passive behavior, and this is not good.

However, we need to be careful, because people usually use the card “with me or against me” in the wrong way. It’s a trap!

This emotional plea is often not based on facts. It preys on our fears of not belonging or being seen as wrong or part of the problem.

Always question how the sides are defined. Usually the “with me or against me” force people to take sides and almost always there are other alternatives.

“When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up, and say, ‘Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again’—my gut reaction is, ‘What a badass.’” ―Brené Brown Click To Tweet

6. You’ll Never Walk Alone

The Inextricable Connection. Holding hands with strangers cut through our differences.

All those fans supporting a football team or singing the same song in a concert, can you feel it? can you feel the power in this kind of connection?

These moments with strangers remind us that despite how much we dislike someone, we are still inextricably connected.

We need to show up for more of these moments. We need them. But it’s vulnerable to lean into that kind of shared joy and pain. We armor up.

We shove our hands into our pockets during the concert or we roll our eyes at the dance or put our headphones on rather than get to know someone on the train.

Those moments of collective emotion remind us what is true about the human spirit.

We need those connections, we need those emotions. Go out and seek them, they are magic motivation powders for our soul.

7. Stop Looking For Confirmation That You Don’t Belong

You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission.

True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value to 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.

You belong to yourself. You belong to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world.

You don’t need to change who you are. True belonging requires you to be who you are.

Do You Want To Know More About Brené Brown?

Dr. Brown research about vulnerability is just inspiring.

Take a look at her definition of vulnerability:

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper or meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

You can also check Brené Brown website and blog.

The powerful Brené Brown Ted Talk about vulnerability.

She has written many books. I haven’t read all of them, but I’m working on it.

Brené Brown Books

Braving The Wilderness – The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.

Rising Strong – The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.

Daring Greatly – How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

The Gifts Of Imperfection – Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.

I Thought It Was Just Me – Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame.

Dare to Lead – Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. 

Brené Brown Netflix

Yes, she is on Netflix! The Call to Courage is more than a documentary.

For me, it was a journey of self-discovery, that helped me be brave enough to live my life to the fullest.

With humor and empathy, Brené Brown discusses what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty.

Leave a comment and let me know if you knew about Brené Brown and if you feel inspired by her work.

I wish you happiness, love and the courage to live your life according to your priorities ♥