We live in a world wrought with shame. It is an effective tool that is used in a variety of arenas. Women are shamed over not being thin enough, pretty enough, or good enough mothers. Men are shamed over any sort of perceived weakness in the home, workplace, and social settings. Children are shamed over their grades, social aptitude and athletic ability. Just to name a few. In our culture enough is never enough. We can never be good enough, successful enough, strong enough….._____enough. Do you feel it? Additionally, we live in a culture where any sort of vulnerability is perceived as weakness, and of course something to be ashamed of.
Brené Brown spent 12 years researching and interviewed hundreds of subjects in order to learn about these topics. This book will open your eyes to a reality that may have always been part of your life. Brown argues that the way to combat our shame and fear is through vulnerability. Pretty scary, right? You should be ashamed of being vulnerable, right? Wrong.
She explains that fear and shame are crippling phenomena that prevent us from reaching our full potential. We do not take risks out of fear of failure and the shame that comes along with that. We refuse to truly connect with people that we love the most, or anyone, because we have a skewed view of what vulnerability really is and its value. She claims that the result of being vulnerable is the ability to live life. To experience what she calls “wholehearted living”. She argues that it is not all about winning or losing, but being in the fight. That is something losers say, right? Her point is not that success is unimportant, but that being vulnerable allows us to “dare greatly” and although sometimes we may fail, we are also afforded the opportunity to win bigger than we thought possible.
Brown does not pretend that vulnerability is easy or pain free. She is very honest about that. Nor does she pretend that it is possible to walk one through every aspect of the process, or even that there is an end goal to be achieved. But in explaining many aspects of what vulnerability looks like, and does not look like, she offers a variety of valuable tools.
This is a well written, well researched book and Brown offers countless anecdotes to not only keep it entertaining and mellow out all of the research but also to allow the reader to better relate to what she is saying. The book got a little bit long and repetitive, as is often a tendency with this type of book, but it was not excessive. I think that it was worth it pushing through. Unfortunately, although she occasionally hints at church attendance, the gospel message is nowhere to be found. That is truly the culminating element needed to bring her message to completion. However, that does not change the fact that this book is full of truth and well worth reading.