Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone


“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

Braving the Wilderness was the perfect addition to my Nonfiction November reading list. I have read four of the five books that Brene Brown has written (Braving the Wilderness, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gift of Imperfection), so it’s safe to say that I’m a huge fan of hers! Brene Brown is a genius when it comes to forging authenticity and vulnerability in our lives, seeking true belonging, and honoring ourselves. While this book wasn’t as good as the others, there were still so many useful (and quotable) tidbits throughout.


The biggest takeaway I’m implementing into my life right away is to work from an “Assumption of Generosity”. In the future, when I feel wronged or hurt by someone, instead of immediately thinking that person acted intentionally, I will now give them the benefit of the doubt. Brown explains, “you extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.” I feel this is an extremely healthy idea to apply to all the relationships in my life and can only imagine it will reap positive benefits quickly!

Another takeaway from Braving the Wilderness is giving yourself permission. Permission for what? Anything you find yourself holding back from! Do you find it hard to enforce your boundaries with others? Permission granted to honor them! Do you have a hard time saying no to others or to commitments you’re not passionate about? Permission granted! Brown says, for awhile, she literally wrote out these permission slips to give to herself. I love that idea because I find that there are many things I make myself feel guilty about, but the idea of a permission slip (as silly as it sounds) seems to diminish that self-inflicted guilt immediately!

It ties back nicely to the underlying theme of the book: by honoring yourself, you find true belonging (the only kind of belonging that truly matters)!

While the examples above are things that impacted me personally, the book also addresses present day issues such as the impact of social media on us individually and collectively, politics, terrorism, and several others. It is timely and relevant information.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, joy, trust, intimacy, courage – everything that brings meaning to our life. An armored front sounds good when we’re hurting but causes us much more pain in the end. When we let people take our vulnerability or fill us with their hate, we turn over our entire life to them.”



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