It can be challenging in today’s world to find our wildness, to strive for authenticity in a social media driven world that punishes us for not fitting in. Yet, if we can find the courage to get in touch with our raw authentic selves, and re-wild ourselves, we have half a chance of living a contented, fulfilled and purposeful life.
The creator of whole-hearted living and a font of inspiration, Brené Brown is an expert on courage and vulnerability. Her ground-breaking research and best-selling books provide solace to millions around the world and a guide to living in today’s world.
Her latest research challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organisations, and culture. Brené Brown talks about a spiritual crisis of disconnection which can be ameliorated by discovering true belonging.
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.
Are You a Conformist or a Rebel?
Do we want to be part of the pack, or be unique. How do we truly belong in an age of increasing polarisation?
Most of us are either making the choice to protect ourselves from conflict, discomfort, and vulnerability by staying quiet, or picking sides and in the process slowly and paradoxically adopting the behaviour of the people we’re fighting. Either way, the choices we’re making to protect our beliefs and ourselves are leaving us disconnected, afraid, and lonely. – Brené Brown
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to ‘fit in’ to a world that dehumanises, and commoditises. A world that increasingly lacks compassion and kindness to people and animals who are suffering. I want to stand for these principles and values in myself, even if I stand alone.
Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else. If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.
Belong to Yourself First
Brené Brown maps a clear path to authenticity, integrity and self-love in a world gone a little crazy. The wilderness, as she describes it, is a way to re-balance. Belonging to ourselves first is the only true belonging there is.
The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand. – Brené Brown
I love that sense of the unpredictable adventure that awaits when we fully embrace ourselves and whatever this will bring. It feels fresh and exciting. A relief to drop all the ‘shoulds’ and return to imagination, creative expression and authentic being. The wilderness is not to be feared, it is our salvation.
Living from a Wild Heart
It takes great courage to be who you are. And to live from what Brené calls a ‘wild heart,’ one that is living out the paradox of love in their life: “It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid–all in the same moment.”
A wild heart can also straddle the tension of staying awake to the struggle in the world and fighting for justice and peace, while also cultivating its own moments of joy.
So I urge you to follow your inner calling, to be drawn by the aching of your heart and your soul, to that wildness within you: the wild warrior, the untamed one, the one who is connected to the stars and the trees, the sand and the wind. I urge you to remember who you are and to live there.
There will be times when standing alone feels too hard, too scary, and we’ll doubt our ability to make our way through the uncertainty. Someone, somewhere, will say, ‘Don’t do it. You don’t have what it takes to survive the wilderness.’ This is when you reach deep into your wild heart and remind yourself, ‘I am the wilderness.’ – Brené Brown