Belonging. There can so much wrapped up in that one word. With how divided our society has become, it seems like belonging can be even harder today.

Brené Brown tackles this concept in her book Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone (Random House, 2017).

Brown is a professor, best-selling author, lecturer and podcast host.

The main sentiment was, “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

Being who we are can be difficult when what we want is to belong. But as Brown points out, there is a huge difference between belonging and fitting in. We belong when people accept us for who we are; we fit in when we adapt to someone else’s norms or to what a group finds acceptable.

Much of what is in the book is practical information that isn’t necessarily earth shaking. What she has done, though, is pull research together, give real life examples, and present a case for the importance of belonging.

First you have to be belong to yourself. That is what can be so challenging.

I listened to the book, which seemed to be more powerful than if I had read it. I think this is because Brown did the reading, so it was as though she was talking to me. It also afforded me the opportunity to rewind if I wanted to hear it again. Of course reading something you can reread it. For me, though, hearing her words proved to be powerful.

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