“Rising Strong” by Brene Brown

book cover

Subtitle: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.
Additional subtitle: If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up.

Recommended to me by: reading Brene Brown’s other books

This book covers a lot of ground I care about – how to recover from failure, how to deal with shame when it gets triggered, how to meet life’s rough spots in an authentic, integrated way. Brene Brown’s catchy phrases and metaphors and TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) probably help a lot of people and are an authentic expression of her style, and at the same time they aren’t a good fit for me. I felt like I was reading around them to get to the great ideas in the book.

Vulnerability is the only path to more love, belonging, and joy – and it also leads to humiliating falls, failures, and heartbreak.

There is no one way to rise after falling. We each have to feel our way. No one can do it for us, and no one can do it without outside input. (She says without connection. As hard as it is to do without connection, something in me says that’s not a hard and fast rule. Then she says spirituality is required, and spirituality is about connection. So maybe there’s something there.)

We’re wired for story. Questioning and changing our assumptions is a big part of rising after a fall.

We can’t skip the messy middle of the process, where it’s too late to back out, but we can’t yet see your way forward. (This was the bit that rang the most true for me, and yet I hadn’t realized was an intrinsic part of the process. It’s comforting, in a way, to know that. At least I’m lost in good company, and probably going the right way after all.)

The process applies to major life crises, and to individual confrontations, and to both professional and personal life.

  • The Reckoning: Walking into our story
    Recognize emotion, and get curious about our feelings and how they connect with the way we think and behave.

  • The Rumble: Owning our story
    Get honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggle, then challenge these confabulations and assumptions to determine what’s truth, what’s self-protection, and what needs to change if we want to lead more wholehearted lives.

  • The Revolution
    Write a new ending to our story based on the key learnings from our rumble and use this new, braver story to change how we engage with the world.

Ways to avoid emotion/hurt/pain – blame, lashing out, avoidance, numbing, addiction.

Owning the story: “The story I’m making up is…” Writing for 15 minutes can help us find out what our story is.

Living “BIG” – boundaries, integrity, and generosity. Believing that people are doing the best they can (even when they violate our boundaries).

“In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die. If you make a choice to forgive, you have to face into the pain. You simply have to hurt.” Forgiveness arises out of grief for an ending.

Asking for help might be a lot harder than being the one who has it all together to offer help.

Trust includes: boundaries, reliability, accountability, respecting confidences, integrity, nonjudgment, generosity. Self-trust has these elements, too, and is often a casualty of failure.

Hope is a thought process of goals, pathways and agency. (This does not match my experience at all, or we’re talking about two different things. To me, hope is something completely ungovernable, wordless, primal.)

Recommended! There’s lots of food for thought here.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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