Review of Rising Strong, by Brené Brown

rising_strong_largeRising Strong

The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution

by Brené Brown

Spiegel & Grau, New York, 2015. 301 pages.
Starred Review

I have perfectionistic tendencies, so the first book of Brené Brown’s that I read, The Gifts of Imperfection, hit the spot for me. It was a 2011 Sonderbooks Stand-out. Then came Daring Greatly, a 2014 Sonderbooks Stand-out. Daring Greatly talks about vulnerability and wholeheartedness.

Now she’s written Rising Strong, about getting up when you fall down — which is going to happen if you are Daring Greatly.

In the Introduction, she says:

While vulnerability is the birthplace of many of the fulfilling experiences we long for — love, belonging, joy, creativity, and trust, to name a few — the process of regaining our emotional footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are.

She says that if we’re carrying out the call of her other books, we’re going to need this one.

If we’re going to put ourselves out there and love with our whole hearts, we’re going to experience heartbreak. If we’re going to try new, innovative things, we’re going to fail. If we’re going to risk caring and engaging, we’re going to experience disappointment. It doesn’t matter if our hurt is caused by a painful breakup or we’re struggling with something smaller, like an offhand comment by a colleague or an argument with an in-law. If we can learn how to feel our way through these experiences and own our stories of struggle, we can write our own brave endings. When we own our stories, we avoid being trapped as characters in stories someone else is telling.

Basically, this book gives us a procedure for getting back on our feet when we fall on our face in the arena. That’s where the subtitle comes in.

Here’s a summary of the Rising Strong process:

The goal of the process is to rise from our falls, overcome our mistakes, and face hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and wholeheartedness into our lives.

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 live 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 and to ultimately transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead.

The book fleshes out these ideas with lots of examples, explaining what this looks like.

It was interesting to me that while I was in the middle of reading this book, something came up that reminded me of a hurt at the end of my marriage. It popped up seemingly out of nowhere. But armed by this book, I looked at the stories I was telling myself about that incident, and was able to examine what was true and what wasn’t true. I was able to do some forgiveness work and tell myself a better story.

The whole idea of saying, “The story I’m telling myself is…” can be eye-opening, and gives us more power over our feelings and the ability to revolutionize our lives and relationships.

You can tell I love Brené Brown’s writings, because once again, lots of quotes from this book show up in Sonderquotes. I bought myself a copy so I can look through it again.

I highly recommend all of her books. If you ever face difficulty? Grab this one. It will help you rise strongly, ready to dare greatly again.

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