I got it pretty much on the same day it came out and read it with a few small breaks that I couldn’t avoid straight through. In “Braving the Wilderness”, Brené Brown talks about true belonging and about how and where we can find it (for a review of her earlier books, see here). By doing so, she once more addresses an issue that probably most if not all of us can relate to. For me, it has been just another of these questions I have been asking myself pretty much ever since I’ve been able to do so. Where do I belong, truly?
In the beginning of her book, Brené Brown quotes Oprah who had once advised her: “Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. It doesn’t work that way.” So it’s again about showing courage, facing shame and being true to yourself – lovely words and pieces of advice that we like to give each other, but that are so hard to embrace and live in daily life.
Brené Brown talks about that moment, when she finally understood a quote by Maya Angelou about only being free when you belong no place and every place, which came about with her husband comforting her by saying: “You will always belong anywhere you show up as yourself and talk about yourself and your work in a real way”. It became clear to her that true belonging is not “something we achieve or accomplish with others; it’s something we carry in our heart. Once we belong thoroughly to ourselves and believe thoroughly in ourselves, true belonging is ours”.
Belonging to ourselves she then defines as being called to stand alone and “to brave the wilderness of uncertainty, vulnerability, and criticism”, which the book is all all about by using the word BRAVING as a checklist standing for Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Nonjudgment and Generosity. I won’t explain this any further, since she does it best herself, and I wouldn’t want to spoil it all. But if you can relate: Go and get the book. It might just bring you one or more steps closer to your authentic self.
And as someone who has been searching for her place forever pondering the question what she’s supposed to do with your life, I’d like to hold on to this quote she mentions by Joseph Campbell: “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”