It’s been quite a while since I’ve reviewed a book, so I thought I would get to it!
I am an avid reader, and I like to read everything from sci-fi to chic lit to paranormal to self help. Sometimes I like to escape into a book, and sometimes I want to learn something. This book definitely falls in to the category of “learning something” or more accurately “discovery”.
I am on a journey of self discovery in order to live the best life I can for me. That would include happiness, meaning and connection with work and with people. I want to be engaged and use my unique skills. I like to talk about following intuition and being true to your essential self. This often means not following trends or “fitting in” with society and culture. Not the easiest things to pull off when “everybody” out there is telling you what you should do for work, parenting, making money, etc.!
Now, let me turn to this easy to read book by Brene Brown. This is the first thing I’ve read by her, but her work has been recommended to me many times by kindred spirits. I ran across this book in the library quite by accident, and was amused to find that its paperback cover was totally beat up. When I tried to check it out, the scanner wouldn’t work because the whole cover had been “weathered” by so many hands. I giggled to myself about how many people must have checked this book out of the library before me!
Brene Brown is a researcher and often studies things like shame. (Sounds like a barrel of laughs, right?) She’s earned her Ph.D. and is a legitimate academic. I love that fact that her type A personality and serious academic chops led her to the subtle but powerful themes of gratitude, play, and creativity. She explains that her own research knocked her off balance and sent her into a spiritual breakdown/awakening!
I feel a kinship with her. We both were brought up to achieve and to strive and to work our butts off. We both value reason and research and feel insecure when we have to buck the trends of culture. In short, we both feel compelled to compete in the rat race and have it all, and we have both been bewildered when that constant striving to achieve more and more did not lead to happiness or joy.
Weren’t we following the rules of success? Doing what we were supposed to do to get ahead? Well, a lot of the times we did. The problem is that the “rules of success” perhaps weren’t meant for us after all. I think you get the idea.
This book talks about ways for people to embrace themselves as individuals and build authentic, meaningful and joyful lives. There is more than one way up the mountain, so to speak, and we should find that path that works best for us.
Chapters include: Authenticity, Self-Compassion, Resilience, Gratitude and Joy, Intuition and Faith, Creativity, Play and Rest, Calm and Stillness, Meaningful Work, Laughter, Song and Dance.
I found these chapters to be funny, I recognized myself in Brene’s own struggles, and ultimately found inspiration or food for thought. I would recommend reading one subject chapter at a time, and then giving it some time to sink in. Let your brain and heart mull it over a bit and see what sticks out as meaningful for you. When you’re ready, read on to the next.
I love this book because it is so simple, easy to read, and so so real. Life is hard, peer pressure is real, being unique or different can be a struggle. I think the take away here is that if we figure out how to fine tune our lives in ways that are meaningful for us as individuals, it will lead to greater joy and happiness. I’m all about that!
Find the book here on Amazon or hit the library. If you are looking for ways to make your life richer, this is a great place to start.
Happy reading my friends!