Author: Brené Brown
Being Me is scary. To not be Me is torture.
Alone, in the silence of the woods, I have only myself. And I will be just fine.
Brené Brown’s “Braving the Wilderness” came to me when I was having what I call a “self-awareness hangover.” This usually happens when I have read too many self-help, leadership, or business books causing my trips into self-awareness to wander into traps of self-doubt. I start to worry about how I handled past conversations, led my former teams, and interacted with fellow parents. Geez – how did I managed to get out of bed and parent at all?
Self-awareness hangovers leave me certain I will never fit in and will always be upsetting someone. Feeling terrible and keenly aware of the many ways I can offend nearly everyone – I withdraw. I hide my True Self.
“You are only free when you realize you belong to no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great. ~Maya Angelou
“Braving the Wilderness” told me, “Stop. Be yourself.” Brené Brown opens the book with the Maya Angelou quote as she reflects on a life-long desire to fit in. She describes sacrificing her True Self in order to belong. Fit in or be left alone in what she calls The Wilderness. Terrifying.
Naturally, we resist abandonment at our most primal level. The Wilderness is where we go when cast out, never to return. But Brené argues deciding to bravely enter The Wilderness alone is how we find True Belonging. For in the quiet of woods, only self can be heard. True Self finally gets to stand alone.
And True Self belongs to no one.
From this powerful realization, immense courage and confidence is found. Brené then calls upon the reader to, without fear, open their True Self to others. It is only through this most honest effort to connect with other people that we will find the purest quality of humankind – unconditional acceptance of True Self and others. And we will truly belong. To everyone who seeks truth. And to no one but ourselves.
And with that – hangover was gone.