Book Review - Daring Greatly

It's Book Club time again! And this one was a great read to kick off the year.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brene Brown

Reviewed by Laura Bruder

Daring_Greatly.pngThis wasn't our typical book club choice. Usually, we select something that has an adoption storyline like The Waiting, You Carried Me, or To Have and Not to Hold. But this year, we wanted to read something a little different that might resonate with a wider audience.

Honestly, I wish everyone would read Daring Greatly because it's profoundly fascinating about the simple but universal human experience. It gives you words to identify feelings and tools to move forward (like the title describes).

Brene Brown is a research professor who studies vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Her 2010 Ted Talk is one of the most watched talks on TED.com (watch here). 

Through Brown's research over the years, she has developed definitions of the following key words that are constantly used throughout the book: 

"Connection is why we're here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering."

"Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process."

"Shame is the fear of disconnection - it's the fear that something we've done or failed to do, an ideal that we've not lived up to, or a goal that we've not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection."

"Shame is particularly hard because it hates having words wrapped around it. It hates being spoken."

When I read that sentence, I was immediately reminded me of the value of sharing stories and talking about adoption. Because when we don't talk about it, then I believe we're feeding those gremlins of shame and then we're in isolation. For far too long, there have been outdated stereotypes and stigmas surrounding adoption and birth parents. But at BraveLove, we are changing the perception of adoption by allowing space for people to share their stories and put words to those experiences. Little by little, we can erase the shame and show the world that adoption is a brave choice — not something to be ashamed of.

What's amazing is that Brown gives some practical ways to deal with shame by calling it shame resilience:

"The ability to practice authenticity when we experience shame, to move through the experience without sacrificing our values, and to come out on the other side of the shame experience with more courage, compassion, and connection than we had going into it. Shame resilience is about moving from shame to empathy."

"Shame dissipated the minute I realized that I wasn't alone—that my experience was human."

It goes back to connection. The dinners, support groups, get-togethers, and friendships are so vital to developing that shame resilience. You're sitting beside someone with empathy.

Even though adoption is actually never mentioned in this book, I couldn't help but constantly think about birth parents and their experiences with shame. I hope you know that you are worthy of love and belonging.

Get your hands on this book and learn what it means to dare greatly. It's a book for anyone at any age (well, adults only). 


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Read the books we're reading at any time, then leave your comments below on the respective post. So if you've read Daring Greatly, comment below. If you have a good book you'd like to read or review, contact us. We'd love for you to be our next featured book reviewer. 

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