Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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Daring Greatly

I love Brené Brown and have read a number of her books, which you can find on my book listDaring Greatly is supposed to be one of her best books and it’s been on my list for a while. Her research is around shame and vulnerability and how they invade every area of our lives – work, family, social life. The greatest thing she does is use this research to make concepts and ideas applicable to anyone’s life. And she doesn’t pretend to be perfect or to have all the answers.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”

I can tell you, from personal experience, that being vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do but can have the greatest rewards. Obviously you are not going to be completely open and vulnerable with every single person in your life, but when I am completely vulnerable with those closest to me, the relationship flourishes. I went through college with only a couple friends knowing that I went for infusions at the hospital every 1-2 weeks to treat a chronic blood disorder. To me, this difference was a negative thing and one that would make me weird. But years later, when I opened up about that aspect of my life publicly, the response was overwhelmingly positive. And thinking back, I was silly to think it would be otherwise.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a quick read. I will say that Brown can be a little repetitive, and the section on parenting doesn’t apply to my, but I still skimmed through it. Great read for anyone who is in relationships with others – friends, family, romantic, whatever!

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Rising Strong

Keeping with my goal of alternating between fiction and nonfiction, Rising Strong is the second of Brené Brown’s books I have read. I enjoyed The Gifts a little more than this one, but it was still a captivating read. Dr. Brown is a social science researcher and studies some really interesting topics including shame, vulnerability, being brave, and recovering from adversities. I’ve talked before about my struggle with reading “self help” books – but hers are a little easier to swallow since she has a PhD in social work and actually researches to find trends and recurring themes around topics.

Rising Strong discusses the process of dealing with emotions and rising from the pits of life. What hit home for me was the strategy for dealing with and sorting out emotions, as I am, admittedly, not great at doing. And I think a lot of people deal with this.

Newton’s third law of motion states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” I believe this law also applied to our emotional lives. For every emotion we feel, there is a response.

In order to effectively recognize and deal with emotions, we must first recognize the reason we’re feeling that way. For most negative emotions, this involves lies that we are making up/hearing and believing. A current social phenomenon, the ‘fear of missing out’, is a great example of this. It gets the best of us all: pull up Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat on a Friday night and become upset because everyone else is out having fun without you. But is that really true? If you stop your mind from running wild, of course not every friend is out having the night of their life. This is a basic, albeit common, example, but we all subconsciously hear lies every day. Learning to recognize that and traverse those lies will lead to a much happier life. Imagine how much better our relationships would be if everyone followed this practice – not just assuming you know why someone said what they said or their intentions behind doing/not doing something.

Maybe you’re an emotional rock and never lose your cool and if that’s the case, teach me, Yoda. Because this is something I think I will work on the rest of my life. But like all things, it takes practice….yes, even emotions take practice…and practice…and more practice.

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The Gifts of Imperfection

I first heard Brené Brown watching one of her TED Talks. She was a so well-spoken and had such interesting research, I was actually excited when a Facebook friend posted that she was reading Dr. Brown’s newest book: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Although I love my Kindle, I went a bought this one (I do miss turning pages of a physical book), since I knew I would want to mark things and take notes.

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I am not one to read “self-help” books. But my skepticism was lessened since I had watched her Talk and knew she is a highly respected researcher (yes, I guess I am biased). The best thing about this book is that it is research-based. Dr. Brown has studied these things for years and years. So yes, I will listen to what she has to say more than a self-proclaimed “expert.”

The goal is wholehearted living. And she not only talks about the things that prevent us living wholeheartedly, but gives numerous personal stories (I’m pretty sure we’re the same person) as well as suggestions to overcome those obstacles (that at least worked for her). There are so many quotes I could pull out from the book, and sections I could talk about, but I really think you should read it for yourself (and this post would be a book itself). So I’ll leave you with this.

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Needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend this book. It’s not a self-help book. It’s a “change your way of thinking and living” book. And I’m pretty sure everyone can take something away from Dr. Brown’s research and/or stories. Enjoy!