This is my second book by Brené Brown. It has only strengthened my resolve to read all of her books (not to mention listen to her podcasts, watch all of her interviews, and so on, and so on). I have so much hero worship for this woman I think I’d all but explode if I ever actually got to meet her. All of which is to say that I’m a bit biased, so fair warning.
Like the last book, my life is just a bit better because
I read this. The concepts she discussed here were a bit more familiar
and I was just a little bit braver in trying to practice them. Just
about every time I finished reading I’d go bug my boyfriend with another
vulnerability practice in which I’d let him know something else about
how I was feeling, what I was afraid of, how I was struggling. It’s
never fun, it’s always scary, and it’s always incredibly rewarding. I
feel braver, we feel closer to each other, and things are always just a
tiny bit better.
This time around she goes into specifics about
the scarcity culture and the myths it leads us to buy into as a way to
break down the initial barriers to practicing vulnerability. Then she
looks at the primary shame triggers we face and the things the
"gremlins" use to get us- in less details than in "I Thought it Was Me"
but with more specifics for men. Then she looks at the "armor" we use to
shield ourselves from shame that has to be taken off so that we can
live in vulnerability. And finally she breaks down putting vulnerability
into action at work, in school, in one's community, and finally at home
in parenting and cultivating a wholehearted family.
there's more of my copy that is highlighted than is not so it's all but
impossible for me to pick out the core passages that resonated.
Everything did. Most from my own experience but anything I haven't
directly encountered myself I've seen and been effected by. But if I had
to pick one core take away I think it would be this: don't hide your
The lesson she illustrates over and over again is that
to be alive is to make mistakes and that you cannot ever achieve
anything worthwhile without doing so. So it's less about doing the right
thing and more about owning up to doing the wrong thing with grace and
using that to lead by example- certainly a very different message than
what I grew up believing about self improvement and what it means to be a
good person. She says it's not about what you know and even less about
what you say but all about what you do and therefore if you want to live
wholeheartedly at home, at work, in whatever leadership role you may
find yourself in the challenge is not to hide your mistakes from those
who follow you but rather to purposefully draw attention to them as the
lessons they are.
And she gives some good, important pointers as
to how to do this in a world that still uses- in larger and larger ways I
would argue, shame to keep people in line and shut up those who dare to
speak out against the systems that require their silence. It's an
incredibly important message for this time when a lot of us are waking
up to the dangers of our own inaction and trying to stand up for what we
believe in. Our world is full of individuals who have been
disenfranchised by shame and the only way to change that is for each and
every one of us to cultivate shame resilience and start fighting back
against those who would use shame to control us. It's a daily battle and
it's hard. But, as she concludes: "nothing is as uncomfortable,
dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I'm standing on the outside of
my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the
courage to show up and let myself be seen."