Rising Strong: Interview with Brené Brown

This is part of the DR Book Collection.

Image result for rising strongBrené Brown’s Daring Greatly made my top 5 list in 2015. I wrote,

Brown’s approach to shame and vulnerability has had a significant impact on my worldview, including how I interpret my religion…The book is a fantastic mix of research, anecdotes, and application. The insights within it are themselves therapeutic, providing a language capable of capturing many of the turbulent emotions we experience. The result is better self-understanding and increased self-awareness. A paradigm shifting book.

I also devoured her The Gifts of Imperfection after finishing Daring Greatly. But when Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. was released, I asked my therapist if she had read it and if it was anything new compared to her previous work. My therapist said that it was largely more stories expanding on her previous themes. Being one who is largely interested in hard data, the idea of additional anecdotes with few new insights didn’t appeal me. However, when I came across it on Audible and remembered that Brown was the narrator, I decided to give it a listen. My interest was further peaked by some brief research I was doing on boundaries and relationships.

Rising Strong was well worth the read. While my therapist’s description was accurate, my disinterested reaction was due to my failure to remember how much I enjoyed Brown’s anecdotes and how well she weaved them together with her professional research. It’s actually one of the major strengths of her books. In Rising Strong, she puts this strength toward describing a framework of

  1. Accepting failure and becoming curious about the emotions that come with it (the Reckoning).
  2. Honestly engaging the stories we tell about ourselves[ref]What she refers to as the “shitty first drafts” (pg. 85).[/ref] (the Rumble).
  3. Turning the process of reckoning and rumbling into a practice that leads to transformation (the Revolution).

One of my favorite insights, however, was about boundaries. According to Brown,

[T]he most compassionate people I interviewed also have the most well-defined and well-respected boundaries…They assume that other people are doing the best they can, but they also ask for what they need and they don’t put up with a lot of crap…Boundaries are hard when you want to be liked and when you are a pleaser hell-bent on being easy, fun, and flexible. Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment (pgs. 114-115).

Boundaries are an important part of generosity and integrity. “Generosity,” she says, “is not a free pass for people to take advantage of us, treat us unfairly, or be purposefully disrespectful and mean…[A] generous assumption without boundaries is another recipe for resentment, misunderstanding, and judgment. We could all stand to be more generous, but we also need to maintain our integrity and our boundaries” (pgs. 122-123).

These kinds of insights can help us all be our better selves. You can see a brief interview with Brown below.