Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review: Daring Greatly

A book that's not about history or fiction that allows me to escape my life? One that actually requires I work from within to understand others and myself and not be the hermit crab I refer to myself as? I need a book like this in my life. While I believe it was incredibly well written, I had a difficult time reading as I was convicted on so many levels of not Daring Greatly enough in my life.

Brene Brown is a highly regarded and well-read author and researcher. I was driven to read this because in my nearly 2-year stand after losing Andrew, I wanted to check my life against others in terms of being vulnerable, feeling worthy, and living wholeheartedly. That's essentially what this book's all about. It's about how we all could us a little maintenance in the way we live.

I learned something from every chapter, but the parenting chapter really hit home. I especially appreciated the discussion about wholehearted parenting and how she addresses the shaming nature of parenting debates on divisive issues like co-sleeping, feeding, birthing, vaccinations, etc. She addressed that parents can be the worst at shaming one another using inadvertent name-calling, put-downs, and bullying. She highlights that parents can't claim to care about the welfare of children if you're shaming other parents for the choices they're making. If we feel good about our own choices, we feel no need to judge and attack. She writes, "I think the key is remembering that when other parents make different choices than we're making, it's not necessarily criticism. Daring greatly means finding our own path and respecting what that search looks like for other folks." Kelle Hampton also talked a bit about this in one of her recent rockstar blog posts. I concur.

Brene nixes perfectionism and the ideal that we should be what society demands that is essentially unattainable. There are plenty of moments in this book that I flagged because they were just so relevant to being a loss mom. All in all, I was telling my husband that while I enjoyed this book, it's hard to read. I was staring at my imperfections on each and every page, but in a positive way that was not offensive. Maybe that's why I don't go to therapy. I can't handle the truth. It's a transformative book that was worth the read. I'll leave you with a short excerpt from the book (there are lots and I loved them!) that relates quite well to loss and living that really hit home with me.

A man in his sixties told me, "I used to think the best way to go through life was to expect the worst. That way, if it happened, you were prepared, and if it didn't happen, you were pleasantly surprised. Then I was in a car accident and my wife was killed. Needless to say, expecting the worst didn't prepare me at all. And worse, I still grieve for all of those wonderful moments we shared and that I didn't fully enjoy. My commitment to her is to fully enjoy every moment now. I just wish she was here, now that I know how to do that."

Powerful, huh?

I received a free book and was compensated for this BlogHer Club book review, but all opinions expressed are my own. If you'd like to check out discussions on BlogHer about the book, go here. I'll be discussing there. 


Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Sounds good. Really good. On my to-read list now.