"Braving the Wilderness" Learning Community Book Group

Brene Brown's book "Braving the Wilderness" on a wood table

As you discussed in the "What if I Say the Wrong Thing" learning community, it can often be challenging to have discussions with people who have different life experiences or backgrounds. We may often feel we don't know how to relate to them, or are afraid we’ll say the wrong thing. This is particularly true when we’re talking with people whose beliefs or viewpoints we think will differ sharply from our own. While it may seem easier not to engage at all, avoiding interactions with them means passing up opportunities to build relationships and community.

Brene Brown tackles the problem of how engaging across difference can be difficult in "Braving the Wilderness". We may fight against it, avoid it, or conform our own beliefs to "belong". In moments of great polarization in our society and between communities, we often default to sharing ideas and interacting with people who make us most comfortable. Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. Highlight from the book:

From the book: "True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.”