Rising Strong When We Fall with Brené Brown

FB-rising-strong-review-01I couldn’t have been more excited if my heartthrob George Clooney was coming to town…

My mentor and colleague, Dr. Brené Brown, came here to Seattle to speak! On the heels of her new book, Rising Strong, she took Town Hall Seattle by storm. Tickets sold out within an hour of going on sale.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one swooning!

And who can blame us?

In her previous bestseller, Daring Greatly, Brené showed us how to be all in, fully authentic, and become our truest selves. In Rising Strong, she brings down the house with the one thing no one seems to talk about – rising strong after each and every stumble, failure, and broken heart that happens along the way.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy as one of her Daring Way Certified Facilitators. I devoured it with the excitement of a Twilight fangirl, and it did not disappoint.

I found page after page chock full of potent tidbits that just speak to my very core.

Start Rising Strong

Rising Strong is all about the undeniable truth that if you Dare Greatly in any arena of your life – your relationships, your work or your family – you will stumble and fall along the way. If you show up often enough, boldly enough, sharing your authentic truth… then you are bound to come up against roadblocks, experience disappointments, and at times utterly fail.

It means you are truly LIVING!

And that is where Rising Strong comes in.

It is in those moments that we can experience our greatest growth and potential for the future. We can fall, get up, LEARN, and do it again. In those “failures”…

  • when the conversation doesn’t go as planned
  • the project you are working on doesn’t fulfill the outcome we hope for
  • someone we care about deeply disappoints us

Those are the moments that hold the key to our growth.

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IF we take the time to fully embrace our vulnerability and rumble with our emotions, then we can write a new ending to the story.

That means we have to let go of those angry and defensive strategies that disconnect us from ourselves and each other. We can let go of those “nasties” of blame, shame, and criticism and embrace our truth with self-compassion. We can learn to rise strong.

Facing Resentment and Anger

It didn’t take me long after finishing the book to come up against an opportunity to practice her method.

It was Sunday afternoon and I had been looking forward to dinner with my son all weekend. He’s a law student and even though he lives here in Seattle, getting an opportunity to see him is a few and far between proposition!

I’ve even considered asking him to stand on the street corner so I can have a drive by viewing just so I could see his smiling face. But that’s another story- those of you who are mother’s will understand the “in your gut kind of longing” that shows up when you haven’t seen your kids for awhile.

Anyway- I texted him to see what time he was planning to be here and got an immediate phone call.

“Oh Mom, I completely forgot, I’ve been working all weekend on a big case for the law firm and we have a deadline Monday morning. I’m so sorry, but there’s no way I can be there!”

I swallowed my “wail” and told him I completely understood, and of course we could try to plan something in a week or so…..

After I hung up I realized it had been 3 weeks since I had seen him. Even more than that, I hadn’t had a chance to visit with him on my own in more than a year. His new girlfriend was always along (whom I adore!).

But still… it helped me get clear about the fact that I wanted some one-on-one time with my son.

We have always been close and this “distance” was leaving me feeling resentful and angry.

Thankfully, I Chose to Rise Strong

I had to rumble with my feelings and my expectations and get grounded in my values which include family and honesty and asking for what you need. I decided it was time to have a “heart to heart” with my son. Even though he is 27 years old and a man on his own in the world, I was longing for an adult and reciprocal relationship with him. I needed to find a way to spend some meaningful time together as we transitioned to an adult relationship.

So I called him up and asked him to breakfast.

We set a date for the following week. As I entered the restaurant and saw that precious face, my heart broke. He is such a handsome and sensitive young man and I could see in his eyes that he was nervous.

I told him how proud I was of the wonderful young man he had become and how very much I understood the pressures he was under as a law student and with a new and important relationship.

And yet, I wanted to develop a new kind of relationship with him as well. I wanted a relationship that was based on respect and reciprocity. I was looking to have a forum to share our lives as they both were evolving.

I wanted to set up a regular time that we could both count on to see each other.

I could see he was relieved and also more than willing to spend some time with his Mom, who he does adore I know.

We agreed to a monthly breakfast and set the date right then and there. It wouldn’t take the place of family dinners or birthday or holiday celebrations. It would be “our” time.

I left the restaurant feeling so grateful for having Brené’s guidance to write a new story for my son and I. And I could tell that he was relieved to have the expectations clearly outlined and planned.

I Could Have Let It Stain My Heart

Feeling resentful and angry from that canceled dinner with my son, I could have let myself stay down. It would have felt safer, easier even, to just let it be and let the hurt drive a wedge between us. I could have retreated and not lived my authentic truth and not let myself be vulnerable.

If I hadn’t…

  • taken a step back
  • learned from myself
  • and found a way to rise strong in a way that helped both of us

Well, dear reader, then I would still be feeding that hurt and anger instead of having a new level of connection and respect with my son.

Have you ever found yourself retreating from the fall when you’d rather be rising strong and reaching out?

Life doesn’t always work out the way we planned. We are bound to suffer dissapointments and setbacks. When we speak our truth in love it doesn’t always turn out perfectly. Yet, if we do it often enough we are sure to Rise Strong!

Rising Strong helps you pick up where Daring Greatly leaves off – the rumble, the dusting yourself off, and the rise back to being ALL in, whatever the situation.

If you would like to begin to step out in your life in some new and BRAVE ways…

Consider joining my Living Brave Weekend Workshops and Retreats!

Explore what it means to fully show up in our lives. Be brave, lean into vulnerability, and rise to the challenges that come with living an authentic life.

Click here to learn more or register »


Meet Cynthia Benge

A therapist for over 20 years, I guide people from their own “stuck” places to a life full of adventure, meaning and satisfying relationships.

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