I must admit, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown was one of those books that left me feeling uneasy and also a bit frustrated, but I still enjoyed it. A lot of the ideas and research she presented in this book seemed great in theory but not so much a realistic approach that would be able to become a part of the norm in today's highly critical and shame-based society. She did a wonderful TED Talk about the power of vulnerability, which I highly recommend you take a moment and watch, regardless if you plan on reading the book or not.
Brene shared insights from her research which led her on the journey to learn more about herself and humanity. She stated that when it comes down to everything in life, "connection is why we are here." In fact, this is the central theme throughout the book and what I loved about her message. She made strong points about the repercussions of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with others and warns about being mindful of who we open up to when sharing intimate details encourages to be truly vulnerable with others.
I appreciate that she addressed the issue of how much we have numbed vulnerability and pretend that it doesn't affect other people around us. She gives the example of a wife who was having a conversation with her husband regarding her friend's husband, who had recently bought a new house and friend got to stay home. Following the conversation, the wife constantly talked about not having enough money. One day she randomly mentions that her mother would be visiting, and it turned into a huge fight with her husband. According to Brown, it all stemmed from the husband's feelings of inadequacy being compared to the wife's friend's husband who's able to provide for his family and nothing to do with the wife.
Brene also explained how to recognize shame and encourages her readers to practice courage by reaching out to people. Regardless of imposter syndrome, we must be more vulnerable in our lives because it shows empathy towards others which ultimately lets them know that they are not alone, that we too have been or are where they are in life. She states, "not sharing causes more harm than good." What really stuck with me is how accurate she was about people treating others as invisible. She offers a simple observation of being at the checkout line and people not making eye contact with the cashiers, and sometimes the cashiers themselves do not make eye contact or even acknowledges the other person. I've seen this occur on multiple occasions and have been guilty of it myself when I'm distracted with my phone or trying to keep up with my toddler. However, it shouldn't be an excuse for us to not take a moment of our time to just ask someone how they are doing. You never know what struggles people are facing daily; you also never know the impact that a simple act of kindness can have on someone's day.
She concludes the book by asking readers to be more vulnerable with people closest to them. If you're worried about being judged, let that float right off you because people will always judge you no matter what you do so it only makes sense to be ourselves. Show up and be vulnerable anyway.
Overall, this was a good read. I didn't appreciate the Harry Potter references when I first read it because I hadn't read the books as yet. So forewarning, there's a lot of Harry Potter spoilers in this one. Also, what left me feeling uneasy and frustrated was that a lot of her stance on letting yourself be vulnerable is great, but she doesn't truly address the aftermath of when it doesn't turn out to well.
Regardless, it was a good read and I highly recommend it, especially if you're looking for a book that can help you understand more about human behavior towards shame, bullying, intimidation, and of course, vulnerability.
Join the conversation below and share a moment where you were vulnerable and what the outcomes were. Or perhaps someone you truly respected shared some insecurities about themselves to you, how did you react? Did you thought less of them?