Braving the Wilderness - Brené Brown

New worlds are important, but you can’t describe them. Give us the stories that make up the universe. No matter how wild and weird the new world might be, we’ll see ourselves in the stories.

‘You are only free when you realise you belong no place - you belong every place - no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” - Maya A

Once we belong thoroughly to ourselves and believe thoroughly in ourselves, true belonging is ours.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self acceptance.

Grounded theory: to develop theories based on people’s lives experiences rather than proving or disproving existing theories.

Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness - 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.

True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.


True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are.

Cacioppo: “to grow to adulthood as a social species, including humans, is not to become autonomous and solitary, it’s to become the one on whom others depend. Whether we know it or not, our brain and biology have been shaped to favour this outcome.”

Loneliness tells us we need social connection, something as critical to our well being as good and water.

People are hard to hate close up. Move in.

Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil.

Hold hands. With strangers.

Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.

Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made it your mission.

BRAVING - Acronym, The Anatomy of Trust

B – Boundaries.  You respect my boundaries and when you are not clear about what’s OK and what’s not OK, you ask. You are willing to say no.

R – Reliability.  You do what you say you’ll do.  At work this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so that you don’t over-promise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.

A – Accountability.  You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.

V – Vault.  You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share.  I need to know that my confidences are  kept and that you are not sharing with me information about other people that should be confidential.

I – Integrity.  You choose courage over comfort.  You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy.  And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.

N – Non-judgment.  I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need.  We can talk about how we feel without judgment.

G – Generosity.  You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words and actions of others.

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