“Rising Strong” By Brene Brown: Dealing With Adversity

The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. Rising Strong is a book about what it takes to get back up and how owning our stories of struggle gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Brené Brown

Pema Chödrön‘s upcoming book (September 1st) Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown contains a transcript of the commencement speech she gave last year in which she emphasizes lessons Brené Brown also imparts via her newest book, Rising Strong.

A couple of these lessons, in Chödrön’s words, are the importance of “knowing how to fail well” and “knowing how to hold the pain of things happening that you really don’t want to be happening.”

Brown, of course, has already had significant output on such topics as shame, vulnerability, and perfectionism. On her site Brown offers a concise view of how her work has progressed thus far. The Gifts of Imperfection, she says, is about “Be you.” Daring Greatly, “Be all in.” And now, Rising Strong: “Fall. Get up. Try again.” Rising Strong is “by far my most personal book,” Brown says.

A summary from Kirkus Reviews:

Brown outlines a three-step process—the reckoning, the rumble, and the revolution—that unfolds much like the three major acts in a book or play. In the reckoning stage, we identify the emotions inherent in an experience and begin to think about how the emotions interact with thoughts and behavior. In rumble, we connect with the stories we create around an event and cross-examine them to determine the truths and half-truths that might lie below the surface…In the book’s longest section, Brown identifies 15 “rumble” topics, and she breaks down each one. She analyzes how we often invent stories that aren’t necessarily true, since they may be based on experiences from the past, childhood memories, and perceived notions of another person’s thoughts and desires, which can be entirely off-base…In the revolution phase, the truth that’s been exposed in rumble gives us energy to stand back up as a changed person…

From the publisher, one of Brown’s key insights:

She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

A favorite passage of hers, as Brown writes on her blog, has to do with “reclaim[ing] the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity”:

  • Lovability: “…If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past thirteen years, it’s this: Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.
  • Divinity: “…Over half of the participants who talked about experiencing shame in their faith histories also found resilience and healing through spirituality…They believed that the sources of shame arose from the earthly, man-made, human-interpreted rules or regulations and the social/community expectations of religion rather than their personal relationships with God or the divine…Our faith narratives must be protected, and we must remember that no person is ordained to judge our divinity or to write the story of our spiritual worthiness.
  • Creativity and Ability: Regarding shaming incidents from one’s past, Brown states: Just because we didn’t measure up to some standard of achievement doesn’t mean that we don’t possess gifts and talents that only we can bring to the world. Just because someone failed to see the value in what we can create or achieve doesn’t change its worth or ours.

 A video intro to Rising Strong:

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