Some books you hug. Other books hug you. Rising Strong is a book that hugs you. “Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are.” If you haven’t gotten used to the language of Brené Brown, now’s a great time to start.
I gave Brown’s last book three stars. But dang, if that book doesn’t haunt me still. Her words—her stories—have a way of burrowing into your soul. When you are at that precipice of argument, Brené sits angelically on your shoulder saying, “Conspiracy thinking is all about fear-based self-protection and our intolerance for uncertainty.” You ask at the time of reading, “Brené, what on earth are you even talking about?” Then comes the moments where it all makes sense.
My inner nerd got excited about Rising Strong’s introduction—research!! Footnotes!! Notta. Not one (at least in the digital advanced readers copy). “I fell in love with qualitative research—ground theory research, to be specific.” What you’ll see is Brown relating her findings in personal tones. It’s like you are sitting on the couch with her with tea and biscotti in hand. Two BFFs. “I’m using research and storytelling to unpack what I’ve learned.”
Then she brings in Oprah. And Pixar. And even one of my favorite authors Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. She intertwines her stories, thick with examples and hints at research, and builds her point. Brené moves to continue her big three: vulnerability, courage, and authenticity.
As she says, her other books were about “being you” (The Gifts) and “being all in” (Daring Greatly), but here she says it’s about: “Fall. Get up. Try again.”
We’re encouraged to engage with our feelings and get curious. “Give yourself permission to feel emotion, get curious about it, pay attention to it, and practice.” Some of the bigger takeaways from Rising Strong are finding “the story I’m making up” through writing out your SFD (‘stinky’ first draft—you can replace the S-word) and strengthening the belief that people around us are doing the best they can.
Brené doesn’t think positively. She alters your way of thinking to become positive. There’s a difference. Key word: authentic. She talks about the ego: “The ego doesn’t own stories or want to write new endings; it denies emotion and hates curiosity.” She talks about shame, in “never good enough” or “who do you think you are?” to becoming “no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.”
You owe it to yourself to let Brené Brown sit upon your shoulder.
Before you go, check out this other review of RISING STRONG from my reviewing friend LadyBug (bugbugbooks).
Here’s the her TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability: