Daring Greatly

I love Brené Brown. I’ve seen many of her talks and interviews. I host a discussion group for her podcast. She is such an inspiration. I really wanted to love this book, it just wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book. I was so excited to read it and have my life transformed by vulnerability. But as I read, it became more and more apparent that I already live my life with courageous vulnerability.

I talked to my boyfriend about how I was struggling to get through this book … mostly due to boredom. He laughed and told me that I already dare greatly and that this book probably wasn’t teaching me many new things. That is exactly how I felt about it.

However, it was still a great book, full of lots of Brené-isms. I can see how people that need this type of encouragement and guidance could really benefit from reading Daring Greatly. The speech she includes at the beginning from Theodore Roosevelt is truly inspirational. The “Citizenship in a Republic,” also known as “The Man in the Arena,” speech eloquently states what it takes to do great things with your life. You have to put in the time, blood, sweat and tears. You have to fail and pick yourself back up. You have to ignore the criticisms of those too afraid to get in the game themselves.

Brené wrote, “We humans have a tendency to define things by what they are not.” That was how I lived my life for many years. Always wanting. Never being satisfied with what I already had. Often feeling I didn’t deserve to have better or to be better. It took me a long time and a lot of work on myself to feel worthy of good things.

For many of us, these feelings of unworthiness come from early childhood. Brené suggests that parents should really be asked, “Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?” The honest answer from the majority of parents would probably be no. Many parents concern themselves with the happiness of their children but Brené pointed out that what makes a child happy doesn’t always prepare them to be engaging courageous adults.

Brené wrote, “I want to experience your vulnerability but I don’t want to be vulnerable.” I think this is where so many relationships experience problems. You expect a genuine experience from your partner or friend but you aren’t willing to be genuine yourself. She goes on to say, “Vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me.” So many people feel this way and hold themselves back while simultaneously wishing for real connection. “We need to feel trust to be vulnerable and we need to be vulnerable in order to trust.” Such a conundrum.

I love what Brené says about criticism. We encounter criticism from all kinds of places, but not all criticism is worth listening to. This is especially important to remember now with our anonymous troll culture. Brené wrote, “If you don’t feel comfortable owning it, then don’t say it.” I have no time or respect for trolls hiding behind anonymous social media accounts. Show your face and your name or shut up.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

While I didn’t love this book, I still look forward to reading Brené’s other books.

If this book sounds interesting to you, join our online book club!!

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