My Year of Reading (Week 16): Rising Strong

This week I read Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Brene has rocked my world in every good way possible. I believe her work is invaluable. She started out as a researcher researching shame but that work led her down a completely unexpected path and she has since began teaching and speaking and writing about the power of vulnerabiltiy, the gifts of imperfection and how to dare greatly and rise strong when we fall and get hurt. If you are a person, you should read her books. Seriously. In the meantime, here are just some of the quotes I recorded while reading Rising Strong. I cannot say enough about the positive impact Brene’s work has had on my life.

“I don’t believe faith and reason are natural enemies. I believe our human desire for certainty and our often desperate need to be right have led to this false dichotomy. I don’t trust a theologian who dismisses the beauty of science or a scientist who doesn’t believe in the power of Mystery. Because of this belief I now find knowledge and Truth in a full range of sources.”

“With every ounce of my personal and professional being I believe that vulnerability, the willingness to show up and be seen, with no guarantee of outcome, is the only path to more love, belonging and joy.”

“The process of struggling and navigating hurt has as much to offer us as the process of being brave and showing up.”

“The thread that runs through these books is our yearning to live a wholehearted life. Wholehearted is engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. The courage, compassion and connection to know that no matter what we are enough.”

“I think these books have resonated so strongly with people for two simple reasons: we are sick of being afraid and tired of hustling for our self worth.”

“The death of our expectations can be painful beyond measure.”

“There are too many people who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt, instead of acknowledging pain they are inflicting pain on others, instead of risking feeling disappointed they are choosing to live disappointed. Emotional stoicism is not badassery. Blustery posturing is not badassery. Swagger is not badassery. Perfection is about the furthest thing in the world from badassery. People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real bad asses.”

“We have to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. If you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

“We feel the most alive when we are connecting with others and being brave with our story. It’s in our biology.”

“Empathy is not finite. Compassion is not a pizza with 8 slices. When you practice empathy and compassion with someone there is not less of these qualities to go around. There’s more. Love is the last thing we need to ration in this world.”

“I’m a firm believer that complaining is okay as long as we piss and moan with a little perspective.”

“Rising strong is a spiritual practice. Getting back on our feet does not require religion, theology or doctrine. However, without exception, the concept of spirituality emerged from the data as a critical component of resilience and overcoming struggle.”

“Creating is Β the act of paying attention to our experiences and connecting the dots so we can learn more about ourselves and the world around us.”

“Hurt happens. And it happens to every single one of us. Without exception. The only decision we get to make is what role we’ll play in our own lives. Do we want to write the story or do we want to hand that power over to someone else? Courage over comfort. You either walk into your story and own your truth or you live outside your story hustling for your worthiness.”

“We can’t chart a brave new course until we recognize exactly where we are, get curious about how we got there and decide where we want to go. Ours is an emotional reckoning.”

“Our job is not to deny our story but to defy the ending.”

“There is a profound relationship, a love affair really, between curiosity and wholeheartedness.”

“Curiosity and knowledge-building grow together. The more we know, the more we want to know.”

“The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity and creativity.”

“In the absence of data we will always make up stories. What we’re trying to do in the rumble, choosing to feel uncertain and vulnerable as we rumble with the truth, is a brave conscious choice. Our brain rewards us with dopamine when we find patterns, stories are patterns. Unfortunately, we don’t need to be accurate, just certain. The promise of that sensation can seduce us to shutting down the uncertainty and vulnerability that are often necessary for getting to the truth.”

“He’s found that writing about emotional upheavals for 15-20 minutes a day on four consecutive days can decrease anxiety, rumination and depressive symptoms and boost our immune symptoms.”

“I am so much better at being angry than I am at being hurt or disappointed or scared.”

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

“There are at least a million ways to be a great mom and not one of them hinges on breastfeeding or any of the other hot button issues. Great mothers know that they are worthy of love and belonging and as a result they raise children who know they are worthy of the same. Shaming other mothers is not one of the million ways to be a great mom.”

“All I know is that my life is better when I assume people​ are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgement and lets me focus on what is and not what should or could be.”

“Very early on in my work I had discovered that the most compassionate people I interviewed, also had the most well defined and well respected boundaries.”

“Boundaries are hard. They are especially hard when you are a people pleaser hell bent on being easy and 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 are compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment. “

“I’m better than you and I’m not good enough are two sides of the same coin. Both are attacks on our self-worth. We don’t compare when were feeling good about ourselves. We look for what’s good in others. When we practice self-compassion we are compassionate towards others. Self-righteousness is just the armor of self-loathing.”

“This doesn’t mean that we stop helping people set goals or that we stop expecting people to grow and change. It means we stop respecting and evaluating people based on what we think they should accomplish and start respecting them for who they are and holding them accountable for what they’re actually doing. It means we stop loving people for who they could be and start loving them for who they are.”

“Do I believe serial killers and terrorists are doing the best they can? Yes. And their best is dangerous. We must hold people accountable for their actions in a way that acknowledges their humanity.Β Requiring accountability while also extending your compassion is not the easiest course of action. But it is the most humane and ultimately the safest for our community.”

“People learn how to treat us based on how they see us treating ourselves.”

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. -C.S. Lewis”

“Grief requires us to reorient ourselves to every part of our physical, emotional and social worlds.”

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, it’s certainty. I didn’t leave religion because I stopped believing in God. Religion left us when it started putting politics and certainty before love and mystery.”

“Genetics loads the gun. Environment pulls the trigger.”

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. -Aristotle”

“We’re difficult to hit when we make ourselves small. But we’re also less likely to make a contribution.”

“Not caring what people think is its own hustle. The armor we have to wear to make not caring a reality is heavy, uncomfortable and quickly obsolete.”

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams. Who looks inside awakes. -Carl Jung”

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fear-mongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise.”

“Each of the stories we tell and hear is like a small flicker of light. When we have enough of them, we will set the world on fire.”

“Revolution will require people to own, share and rumble with stories.”

“Can we lean into the vulnerability of emotion and stand in our Truth?
Are we willing to lean into the initial discomfort of curiosity and creativity so we can be braver with our lives?
Do we have the courage to rumble with our story?”

“Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting. In terms of teaching our children to dare greatly in the never enough culture, the question isn’t so much are you parenting the right way, as it is, are you the adult you want your children to grow up to be?”


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