Rising Strong Book Review -
Why I Love This Book!

by Anjali Talati
BStrong Together Contributor

Brene Brown’s books have been a gift to me. I loved The Gifts of imperfection and Daring Greatly. Her latest book, Rising Strong, has taken a really a special place in my heart. Not only does she write so beautifully, but it also has to do with the fact that her books are so relatable and are so applicable at home and work. I really thought it would be fun to share my summary and why it has moved me so much.  For those of you that don’t know Brene, she is a researcher - all of her writings are based on facts that are research based. She is not making this up, people!!

In her latest book, Brene interviews highly creative people. She talks to story tellers and writers from Pixar and other major hit TV shows. She tells us in her book that one of the common qualities that these highly creative and successful individuals have is that their curiosity about their own emotions. Creating is the act of paying attention to our experiences and connecting the dots so that we can learn more about ourselves and the world around us. She calls the process of sorting through our emotions as rumbling.  I have started to use this term more and more since reading the book. Sometimes we have to rumble through a story to find the truth and to be certain. The nice part of this tool is that you are allowing yourself to have a few drafts of the story to reach the one that is more accurate.

Neurologist Robert Burton explains that our brain rewards us with dopamine when we recognize a complete pattern. Stories are patterns. The brain recognizes the familiar beginning-middle-end structure of a story and rewards us for clearing up the ambiguity. Even with a half-story we earn a dopamine reward every time. It helps us to understand something is wrong in our world even if the explanation is incomplete or wrong.  These stories could be confabulations which are basically lies which are honestly told. Brene tells us that confabulations are more of an everyday human issue and not just the results of specific medical conditions. The most dangerous stories that we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness and self worth.

In the Daring Greatly, she writes about how certain she is that shame exists in schools. In her research she found that 85% of men and women that she interviewed could recall a school incident from their childhood that was so shaming that it had changed them as learners. These are scars on ones creativity. We must care for and nurture the stories we tell ourselves.  Just because we didn’t measure up to some standard of achievement doesn’t mean that we don’t possess the gifts and talents that we can bring to this world. The men and women in her research that were able to cultivate rising strong practices in their lives were aware of these traps in their own stories. Let’s teach ourselves and our children to start getting curious about these traps. Take the time to hit the pause button with your kids and really sort through some of the stories that they may be confabulating. Writing and journaling are one of the best tools that have worked for me.

Writing what Brene calls a ‘shitty first draft’ allows me to pour everything out with the knowledge that no one is going to see it and that I can reshape it later. This strategy has been one of the best tools that has ever been taught to me. Writing helps us organize and focus on the experience.  The G-rated version to teach our kids is called the ‘stormy first draft.'  The second draft, or ‘Act 2’ as she calls it, is all about trying to find a comfortable way to solve the problem. And if you can’t solve it, you have to walk straight into discomfort. We’ll do anything to avoid self examination.  When we rumble through our second draft, we can take a closer look at it with boundaries, integrity and generosity.   Think BIG… (Boundaries, Integrity and Generosity).  What really struck me the most was the way generosity was explained in our thought process or storytelling. Living BIG is saying that YES, I’m going to be generous in my assumptions and intentions while standing solidly in my integrity and being clear what is acceptable and what’s not acceptable.

This is a basic way that we can understand ourselves and our past by loving ourselves and owning our past so we can move forward in life.  Influential psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung wrote, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakes.”

To all my friends… let’s all learn together how to sit in discomfort or communicate it.  What would the world be like if we could acknowledge our own hurt and pain and in doing so not diminish the hurt and pain of others? We would all rise strong together!!  I hope that you will love this book as much as I do and this summary may encourage you to read it.

- Anjali

To learn more about Rising Strong, watch Brene Brown in Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday conversation.

Anjali Talati is a Barrington resident, member of the BStrong Together Programming Committee, and guest blogger for BStrong Together. She has a passion for mental health and believes in working towards having a greater sense of fulfillment within us.  She is an avid reader and has a love for writing. She is a mom of two young boys and also has a fulltime career as a pediatric dentist. 

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