Manifesto of the Brave & Brokenhearted: The Rising Strong Book Trailer

Hey everyone!

T – 20 days until Rising Strong launches! My dear friend Travis Reed made this beautiful book trailer for me based on the manifesto I wrote for the the book. I love it so much and I’m excited about sharing it with you!

In other fun news, Rising Strong was just named on Amazon.com’s Best Books of the Month list!

Also, we’re getting lots of emails about the tour dates. Everything on the events page is updated with links (including a new 1.5 day workshop in London)!

Thank y’all for your support and encouragement. It means the world to me!

More to come!

The Most Dangerous Stories We Make Up

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 9.09.57 AMAs we enter the Rising Strong  launch countdown, I thought I’d share one of my favorite passages from the new book with you. Even though this is something I know in my head, it remains something I have to practice in my heart.

From Rising Strong:

The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity

Lovability: Many of my research participants who had gone through a painful breakup or divorce, been betrayed by a partner, or experienced a distant or uncaring relationship with a parent or family member spoke about responding to their pain with a story about being unlovable—a narrative questioning if they were worthy of being loved.

This may be the most dangerous conspiracy theory of all. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past thirteen years, it’s this: Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.

Divinity: Research participants who shared stories of shame around religion had less in common than most people guess. No specific denomination has emerged as more shaming in my work; however, there is a strong pattern worth noting. Over half of the participants who talked about experiencing shame in their faith histories also found resilience and healing through spirituality.

The majority of them changed their churches or their beliefs, but spirituality and faith remain important parts of their lives. They believed that the sources of shame arose from the earthly, man-made, human-interpreted rules or regulations and the social/community expectations of religion rather than their personal relationships with God or the divine.

Our faith narratives must be protected, and we must remember that no person is ordained to judge our divinity or to write the story of our spiritual worthiness.

Creativity and Ability: In Daring Greatly, I write, “One reason that I’m confident that shame exists in schools is simply because 85 percent of the men and women we interviewed for the shame research could recall a school incident from their childhood that was so shaming that it changed how they thought of themselves as learners. What makes this even more haunting is that approximately half of those recollections were what I refer to as creativity scars. The research participants could point to a specific incident where they were told or shown that they weren’t good writers, artists, musicians, dancers, or something creative. This helps explain why the gremlins are so powerful when it comes to creativity and innovation.”

Like our lovability and divinity, we must care for and nurture the stories we tell ourselves about our creativity and ability. Just because we didn’t measure up to some standard of achievement doesn’t mean that we don’t possess gifts and talents that only we can bring to the world. Just because someone failed to see the value in what we can create or achieve doesn’t change its worth or ours.

The Rising Strong book launch is one month away and I’m straddling that familiar tension between excited and scared – it’s not easy putting your ideas or yourself out in the world. So, when I start making up dangerous stories, one of the things that keeps me going is knowing that in less than four weeks I’ll be on the road having great conversations with this community about what it means to rise strong. I hope to see you on the road!

You can pre-order Rising Strong here. 

Tour Update

Many of the events are sold out; however, a couple of organizers have recently moved to larger venues. There are also a few events that haven’t opened ticket sales yet. We’ve also just opened the London events. You can find more information on the book events here.

See you on the road!

Own our history. Change the story.

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When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.

I know this is true. I may have learned it as a researcher but I live this truth as a daughter, a partner, a leader, a sister, a mother, and a friend. When we push down hurt or pretend that struggle doesn’t exist, the hurt and struggle own us.

I’ve learned that writing a brave new ending in our personal lives means:

  1. We can’t smooth over hurt feelings in our families. It’s too easy for stockpiled hurt to turn into rage, resentment, and isolation. We must talk about it. Even when we don’t want to. Even when we’re tired.
  2. We can’t pretend our family histories of addiction and mental health issues don’t exist if our hope is to write a new story and pass that legacy of emotional honesty and health down to our children.
  3. We must own our failures and mistakes so that we can learn and grow. It’s hard but I’ve seen how it becomes part of a family and organizational cultures and unleashes innovation and creativity. It doesn’t feel comfortable, but courage rarely does.

Owning our stories is standing in our truth. It’s transformative in our personal and professional lives AND it’s also critical in our community lives. But we don’t think about history as our collective story.

Until we find a way to own our collective stories around racism in this country, our history and the stories of pain will own us.

We will not get away from the violence and heartbreak. Fear and scarcity will continue to run roughshod over our country. Yes, the violence in Charleston is also about access to guns and, more than likely, mental illness. But it’s also about race.

Our collective stories of race in the US are not easy to own. They are stories of slavery, violence, and systemic dehumanization. We will have to choose courage over comfort. We will have to feel our way through the shame and sorrow. We will have to listen. We will have challenge our resistance and our defensiveness.

We have to keep listening even when we want to scream, “I’m not that way. This isn’t my fault!”

We have to examine and own stereotypes and prejudices. Every single one of us has them. It will be tough.

We will need to sit down with our children and talk about privilege. This means honest conversations about how we were raised and what we need to work on. No blaming or shaming, but truth. It’s not productive to deny how hard we all work for what we have, but it’s not honest to deny that many of us are afforded privileges based on who we are and what we look like.

Will these conversations stop violent hate crimes? No one knows for sure, but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of love and truth-telling.

This is not bigger than us. This is us.

Yes, we need to own a million heartbreaking stories of discrimination and prejudice, and make millions of changes, and hold space for a million tough conversations. But, if each one of us owns one story and makes one change and has one honest conversation where we listen more than defend or offer false comfort – we can do this. There is a way to write a brave new ending to one of the most painful stories in our history. What remains to be seen is if we have the will and courage.

I believe we do.