Book Review: Rising Strong by Brené Brown

A few years ago, when I was first introduced to Brené Brown’s work I visited her website to learn more about the books that she had written.  There she recommends that you read three of her books in this order, The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, followed by Rising Strong.  So that is what I did and now having finished Rising Strong, reading the books in this sequence makes perfect sense. 

The Gifts of Imperfection is where Brown introduces her research into vulnerability and how to lead a wholehearted life.  Daring Greatly delves deeper into the ideas of facing our vulnerabilities.  Rising Strong builds on the ideas in the first two books but focuses on how we move on after facing disappointments and loss. 

With this book Brown teaches us the “rising strong” process which is to rise from our falls, overcome our mistakes and face hurt in a way that will bring more wisdom and wholeheartedness into our lives.  The process involves three steps. 

The Reckoning: Walking into our Story In this step we “recognize emotion and get curious about our feelings and how they connect with the way we think and feel”.

This step would seem to be an easy one but what really stood out to me here is how easy it is to dismiss or simply ignore our emotions.  This is the stage when we need to acknowledge and get curious about our emotions.

The Rumble: Owning our story This is the stage when you “get honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggle, then challenge these confabulations and assumptions to determine what’s truth, what’s self-protection and what needs to change if we want to live more wholehearted lives”.

One way to own your story is to simply write it down.  Brown calls this your SFD or (stormy first draft). This process helps you to capture the story that “you are making up”. Once you have worked through your story then you need ask yourselves some questions to better understand that story. 

  1. What more do I need to learn and understand about the situation?
  2. What more do I need to learn and understand about the other people in the story?
  3. What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?

The Revolution: The final step is where you “write a new ending to our story based on the key learnings from our rumble and use this new, braver story to change how we engage with the world and to ultimately transform the way we live, love, parent and lead”.

Brown tells us that the revolution happens when the rising strong process transforms from process to practice. When we can stop and really examine our emotions and the story we are telling ourselves so that we can “rise strong” from that situation.  It might be a small misunderstanding that we can address quickly, or it might be a larger disappointment that takes more time to recover from but either way the ideas in this book can be used to help you navigate some of the more challenging times in life. 

As with all her books Brown uses storytelling to illustrate her points which I feel makes her books more relatable and easier to read.  I have now read four of Brown’s books and this has been my favorite.  In all her books she discusses vulnerability and living a wholehearted life and after reading this book I finally feel like I am gaining a better understanding of what that really is. While I do think that you could read this as a stand alone book, I also think it will have more meaning if you have previously read The Gifts of Imperfection, and Daring Greatly  And If you have read either or both of those books then I highly recommend reading Rising Strong as it is the book that really ties everything together.

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