Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Currently Coveting // The Wit & Wisdom of Brené Brown

via Brené Brown 

***I know that this post might, at first glance, seem rather out of place here. But I promised myself when I started this blog that I would try to share anything that I came across that really struck me -- whether it be design, fashion or life in general. This woman and her philosophy got me at the core and I felt compelled to share it with you all.  ***

In our family, Sunday mornings are for pancake breakfasts in our PJs, the New York Times & NPR ( for our kids it's more like syrup, pajamas and Max & Ruby ). I love those times; they're some of the only hours during the week when I seem able to let myself stop and listen to anything more than my iPhone alarm (I have to set it when I'm working so that I don't miss school pick-ups) or whether the kids are "working through their differences" without opting for pinches and pokes.

This weekend, I happened to catch the very funny & warm Brené Brown being interviewed by Krista Tippett of On Being and the segment stopped me in my tracks. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Somehow, I hadn't heard of her (though she's a NYT bestselling author and a highly sought after public speaker) but her theory really intrigued me. She argues that in its attempt to appear courageous and strong, our culture has made it incredibly difficult for us to be honest and authentic with ourselves and each other, that our inability to let others see our "weaknesses" keeps us from really embracing life and all the joy (and, yes, sorrow) it encapsulates and, perhaps most frightening, this cultural stigma is affecting our parenting and our children's happiness and future.

As pretty much anyone who knows me could tell you, I'm not very good at appearing vulnerable. Capable of slogging through a nasty situation? Yes. Good at taking a problem and running full tilt at a solution? Yep. Stranger to sadness? Not in the slightest. But good at letting people help/comfort me when I'm stressed, confused or over-burdened? Not even remotely. Do I want to pass that inability on to my children? Hell-to-the-no. I want my children to be able to confront their emotions head on, deal with their successes and failures in a healthy way and be able to ask for support when they need it. So what Brown had to say really resonated with me. After listening to the interview, I tracked down her TED talks and listened to both.  On top of being incredibly witty (I laughed out loud several times) they are amazingly insightful on many levels. Yes, each video is 20 minutes long but, at least for me, those were minutes very well spent; there are a lot of thoughts she shares that really got me thinking about choices I have/am making. If you have the time, I highly recommend watching them.

Here's her 2010 TEDx Houston talk on the Power of Vulnerability:

...and here's her 2012 TED talk on Listening to Shame:

I'm planning on ordering her most recent book and am really looking forward to digging into it and seeing how I feel from the other side.

So ... has anyone else heard of her? Am I the last one to this party?

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