I think I found this book on the search feed on Instagram; someone had posted a super hipster picture of a page from this book with a cactus and coffee I think. Needless to say, I clicked on the photo so I could like it. This is called product placement my friends; I bought this book because some random posted a picture while reading it…technology blows my mind sometimes. Anyways, besides that I wanted to take my own cool, hipster, Instagram, it actually sounded like a book worth reading.
I am wary of self-help type books (that offer ways to improve your life, or formulas to find yourself, etc) but again, this seemed like it wasn’t going to be that painful. My initial thoughts when beginning the book was “My life has been fairly easy so far, I don’t have any major life crashed that I need to get up from.” Turns out, she thought about her target audience, and even states that getting back up in the arena can be from small life challenges like a situation at work, or a break-up; looks like everyone can read the book.
Rising Strong by Brené Brown
is about the process of falling down and getting back up again; what it means to rumble with issues such as self-doubt, honesty, nostalgia, etc. And come to a revolution that helps you move forward in your life, and get back up to keep fighting.
The biggest take away for me was coming to terms with the story you are making up when conflict, hurt, disagreement or miscommunication happens. We have all been there, when you make up a story for why your boyfriend isn’t texting back, why your friend didn’t invite you out, etc. You start to picture the worst possible outcome, start going through the conversation you will have with this person, how to inflict the same level of hurt on that person. But most of the time you have interpreted their actions wrong or there is a logical explanation for their text, absence, cold shoulder, etc. This also applies to personal situations; why you failed your test, why you have gained weight, why everything seems to be going wrong. What Brown is suggesting is that taking a step back, writing down your initial reaction and thoughts to the situation, and working through the bigger issues at hand, will help you grow and learn, and ultimately become a better person.
This means becoming vulnerable.
Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness, it’s our greatest measure of courage,
When you are vulnerable there is a good chance that you are going to be face with failure and disappointment, but it also means that you are living your life to the best of your ability and showing the world who you are. I think a lot of people, myself included, get caught up in what people think and don’t want to say the wrong thing, look bad, or fail. We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect, when in reality being vulnerable and failing at times will lead you to a more genuine, wholesome, and happy life.
My favourite quote in the book about rumbling with identity, and “finding yourself”, is from Carl Jung. He says, “While revering the mystery of others, our individuation summons each of us to stand in the presence of our own mystery, and become more fully responsible for who we are in this journey we call our life.” Brown acknowledges this by saying, “One of the greatest challenges of becoming myself has been acknowledging that I’m not who I thought I was supposed to be or who I always pictured myself being.” I find this idea compelling during an age where I am still trying to figure out how to balance adulting and YOLO.
We all picture the “ideal” version of ourselves based on comparisons of other people, which in the end is not actually who we are. To accept ourselves for who we are is an act of vulnerability; telling the world what you see is what you get.
I really enjoyed reading Rising Strong. I didn’t know this before I bought the book, but apparently this is one book in a line of books before. She also wrote Daring Greatly and the Gifts of Imperfection. From the mentions in this book, it seems the other two would be prequels to this one. Needless to say, I will be reading all her other books. Sometimes its good to be pushed into self-reflection and to gain a new perspective on life. Rising Strong is the perfect book for that.