An Open Letter to Brené Brown

An Open Letter to Brené Brown

Dear Brené,
About 6 months ago, I was asked at an event I was attending: “Who has helped you most in becoming who you are today?” I thought for a minute, typical answers are probably “my mother” or “this very invested grade school teacher”. For me, though, it’s Brené Brown! Thank you for helping me become the woman (and mother) I am today, and one I am proud to be.

I know that we have never met but I feel like I know you because are so open and vulnerable in your books. I appreciate that. It is also probably why the Gifts of Imperfections is the only book I’ve actually held in my hands and read in the past 4 years. (I don’t read much with 2 kids under the age of 5).

About 3 years ago when I physically held The Gift of Imperfections in my hands and read it, it has completely changed my mindset and, in turn, made me a better person.
Not a day passes that I don’t think about your pit stop into Nordstrom with Ellen (or whatever department store it actually was).

For those of you who are reading my letter and are not Brené, here is the gist of the story. I probably don’t have the details right but the important stuff is here.
Brené and her 8 year old daughter (still young enough to not worry too much but old enough to be easily impressionable) take a quick pit stop into Nordstrom and Brené is not dressed in her classiest jeans. In my head she’s wearing sweatpants and a messy top knot, but that might be something I added. On their way to the shoe department, they walk past a cluster of put together PTA Moms. Their hair is all curled, their heels are high and they definitely are wearing their classiest jeans.
Then it happens. That catchy song comes on that the Browns usually jam out to in the kitchen at home. While her daughter starts to go into their awesome family robot dance Brené experiences an internal dilemma. Does she save her pride and shame her daughter to keep the respect of the PTA Moms? Or does she forget about her pride and rock out her best robot?

In my version, she does the best robot dance ever! The important thing here is to recognize internal debate – we all have this debate. And recognizing it in myself helped me make better choices.

When my 4 year old wants to wear a dress-up costume, we’re talking Halloween dress-up, glitter, with 18 layers of tulle, what is more important to me? My relationship with her? Or the double take that the grocery store clerk might take? Every day I remember this story and decide to choose my daughter. I ask myself what really matters? That she looks adorable, or the connection we have?

I think about it when we are baking or crafting (Yes, I know you have a J-O-B Brené 😉). When she wants my attention and I just want complete a task. I ask myself what I value more? The task or my connection with her? I wnat it to be her, I always want it to be her.

I’m getting good at it. It has even changed how I think about myself! I started doing it for my daughter because I wanted the best for her. And it has become a practice that has worked its way through much of my life. So, Thank you for helping me grow!

Brené, you also gave me understanding about why the “little things” bother me so much. I would get so worked up over tiny things day to day and I didn’t have the vocabulary to express why. It turns out that my little things are bids for connection. And now when they happen I can use better language and can be very direct: “Hey Dad, I’m trying to connect with you. Put your phone away.”

So, two things Brené. Firstly, Thank You for making me realize that I was not living out my values. Your work has forever changed my mindset.
Second, Thank you for giving me the vocabulary to better communicate about my needs and desires.

Have Gratitude. Choose Love. Never Shame.
xo Joy.

My girls in public wearing tutus, and I choose them!

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