Friday Book Review: Brené Brown

Juliana Ochoa, Ma, LMHC

Brené Brown studies vulnerability and courage, authenticity and shame. She has published a few books on these topics, most notably The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly. Rising Strong – a powerful book about falling, learning, getting up, and doing it all over again – is not her most recent book, but it’s one I want to share with you and invite you to consider adding to your reading list.


Brené’s early work encouraged us to cultivate compassion for ourselves. In The Gifts of Imperfection, she invited us to practice shifting feelings of inadequacy to make room for what is actually the truth, that “I am enough. Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.” It is a refreshing take on embracing who we really are instead of living inauthentically and making choices based on fear of what other people might think and/or feel about us.


Daring Greatly is a book about courage, and having the courage to be vulnerable and show up in your life, exactly as you are. There is strength in vulnerability- yes, it is easier to avoid the scary stuff, but if we don’t lean into the discomfort, we miss out on so many things. If you haven’t seen or heard Brené’s TEDTalk on “The Power of Vulnerability,” you get a chance to right now: I promise it is worth a listen (or two!).


Brené wrote her next book, Rising Strong, and shared a three-part process about how to get up when we fall. After writing quite a bit on courage and having the strength to “show up in the arena,” people began to ask, “Okay, I went into the arena, I showed up, I got my heart broken, now what?” And so the next phase of her work began: What does it look like to get back up? How can we be okay with falling, getting up, trying again? Regardless of the struggle, the rising strong process follows these three steps: The Reckoning, The Rumble, and The Revolution. We reckon with our emotions- We notice them, acknowledge them, and get curious about what they are, rather than rushing to reacting. Then comes the rumble– We ask, what do I really know? What do I know for sure and what I am making up? The last phase is the leaning into discomfort, having the courage to sit with our emotions as we explore what is underneath and discover what are they here to show us and teach us. This part is what creates the revolution.


We make a lot of assumptions in our lives because our brains are wired to make sense of what is happening, very quickly. Accurate or not, our brain is content with figuring it out (a survival mechanism). However, in our rush to create a narrative, we often make up stories that are not in alignment with what actually happened. I love the rising strong process because it helps us realize that we can pause, take a break, regroup. I share this process with you as an invitation to practice a bit of it in your life. Notice your triggers, feel your emotions, acknowledge them, and don’t rush to make up a story about what is happening. Take a breath. In time, explore what is really happening, what those feelings are about, and try to separate fact from assumptions. If you are getting stuck in this process, we are here to help. Please give us a call give us a call at 407-355-7378 to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group.





Juliana Ochoa