Do you ever think about how our decisions and thoughts are influenced by others? We live in a world of filtered social media posts, online trolls and 24-hour news cycles. The advertising, marketing and new industries are constantly commanding our attention, telling us what to think or consume. I question the ease in which we can all make decisions for ourselves and be the most authentic version of ourselves in this world. Are we all just emulating the things we see that we like? These thoughts and questions have sat with me for some time, and they are the initial reasons I was curious about Brené Brown’s book Braving the Wilderness. If you’ve had similar thoughts or feelings, hold tight and know that you aren’t alone. I’m sharing my favorite Braving the Wilderness quotes, my journey to authenticity and what it means to find true belonging.
Now before we get any further, I want to make one thing clear. I don’t have it all figured out. I am on a journey to authenticity. It’s something I strive for, but am in now way an expert in.
Braving the Wilderness Quotes
In Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown shares her personal experience coming to understand what it means to find true belonging. She talks about wanting (and trying) to be a cheerleader in high school in addition to the expectations her parents had of how she would fit in as a child. While Brown shares her journey, she doesn’t share her personal beliefs. I found that refreshing. Instead, Brown points out how we often avoid hearing beliefs that are different from our own. She encourages us to get comfortable talking about our values and beliefs with others.
“When we avoid certain conversations, and never fully learn how the other person feels about all of the issues, we sometimes end up making assumptions that not only perpetuate but deepen misunderstandings, and that can generate resentment. These results are sometimes worse for the relationship than just having the so-called “argument” would be. The key is to learn how to navigate conflicts or differences of opinion in a way that deepens mutual understanding, even if two people still disagree.” — Brené Brown
This is honestly something I struggle with. Outside of my close friends and family, I feel bad sharing personal thoughts because I worry it could offend someone. Now, I’ll never be someone who openly shares thoughts in a Facebook post about the latest headline story. But, as I get older, I realize I cannot hide my thoughts or allow myself to feel ashamed for a certain belief just because it is not what the majority of people I know think.
Brown talks about how comfortable it is to keep to ourselves, but on the flip side it keeps us disconnected from others.
“Most of us are either making the choice to protect ourselves from conflict, discomfort, and vulnerability by staying quiet, or picking sides and in the process slowly and paradoxically adopting the behavior of the people we’re fighting. Either way, the choices we’re making to protect our beliefs and ourselves are leaving us disconnected, afraid, and lonely.” — Brené Brown
Brown also talks about our current culture and how geographically Americans are living among other like-minded people at a much higher rate than in previous periods of our history. There is a comfort that comes with being surrounded by people who think like us. Often the most common exception we make, as Brown points out, is with our families. Within many family dynamics there is an acceptance and respect for each person’s unique beliefs.
This begs the important question of why we so often judge and ridicule other people when their reaction to a situation or their belief about a certain topic is not the same as ours.
What does it mean to Brave the Wilderness?
When Brown talks about braving the wilderness, she is talking about the ability to confidently stand by your thoughts, actions and beliefs, regardless of whether you are alone in them. The key here is that if you are willing to brave the wilderness, you will find true belonging.
“Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else. If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.” — Brené Brown
Braving the Wilderness reminded me that the feeling of acceptance starts with ourselves. One of the best parts of Brown’s book is her interview with Viola Davis. Davis shares her journey to true authenticity, how she braved the wilderness and what that looks like in her life today.
Personally, I think my journey to true authenticity has just begun, and I plan to share my journey on this blog and other social media channels. While I don’t ever want to focus on just the negative things in my life, I do want to pull back the lens more. I will look for more opportunities to show you all who I truly am, my real life, struggles, recent lessons learned and achievements. There are two main reasons I plan to share these things. First, to get more comfortable being myself. And second, to hopefully inspire someone else to live unapologetically.
I would love to hear your thoughts about authenticity and these Braving the Wilderness quotes. Do you think the increase of technology, social media and advertisements make it harder to brave the wilderness today than in decades past? Do you have a favorite Braving the Wilderness quote?
Are you on a journey to true authenticity? Do you struggle with not wanting to hurt other people’s feeling like I do? Let’s chat in the comments and share some support for each other.
I’ll leave you with one last simple, but profound quote.
“It takes courage to open ourselves up to joy.” — Brené Brown