Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Books read

Often, I’m reading both a book for personal development and one for leisure. Personal development books are those that challenge you to become a better person, to question what and how you do things and ask if there is a different way, in essence, to grow. 

How I found Brene Brown

I fell into a deep Brene Brown hole after watching her Netflix special. I downloaded several podcasts available with her as the guest and took them on walks with me, I entered the queue for all of her books at the library (still waiting on most of them) and, eventually, I purchased her newest book Braving the Wilderness because it was too good to pass up on a recent Barnes and Noble visit. 

Friends, she doesn’t disappoint in paper either. Her ability to weave together her research as wells her personal anecdotes really helps to drive her points home.

Braving the Wildnerness is about finding your truest self and being loyal to her, even though every cell in our body is screaming out to compromise those things to be part of a group.

In the broadest swath, the only way I can relate this to you in this brief blog post, she uses the pneumonic BRAVING to demonstrate the steps it takes for a person to fill this roll.


Directly from the book, these steps include:

Boundaries: Learning to set, hold and respect boundaries. The challenge is letting go of being liked and feat of disappointing people.

Reliability: Learning how to say what we mean and mean what we say. The challenge is not overcommitting and overpromising to please others and prove ourselves. 

Accountability: Learning how to step up, be accountable, take responsibility, and issue meaningful apologies when we’re wrong. The challenge is letting go of blame and staying out of shame.

Vault: Learning how to keep confidences, to recognize what’s ours to share and what’s not. The challenge is to stop using gossip, common enemy intimacy and oversharing as a way to hotwire connection. 

Integrity: Learning how to practice our values even when it’s uncomfortable and hard. The challenge is chosen courage over comfort in those moments. 

Nonjudgment: Learning how to give and receive help. The challenge is letting go fo “helper and fixer” as our identity and the source of our self-worth. 

Generosity: Learning how to set the boundaries that allow us to be generous in our assumptions about others. The challenge is being honest and clear with others about what’s okay and not okay. 

Being a vault

What’s been really resonating with me recently is the vault portion of this. As we reach across the physical divide to make digital and virtual connections with our co-workers, family and friends, it can be harder to keep front and center the type of communication that will be helpful at this time due to the strong longing for connection in a time of isolation. 

It can be easier to find that common enemy and bitch; it can be easy to betray confidences and it can be harder to find that oversharing line as we grasp at some semblance of a normal life. I know I am. As with anything during this time, I’m resolving to take beat before speaking, before interacting, before reacting, to provide that little bit of space and ask, “Is this true to myself?” before proceeding. It’s a simple step and it can make all the difference. 

If this resonated with you, be sure to read Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.

Have you read any of her other work? What should be my next one? 

*This post contains affiliate links.


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