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I Thought It Was Just Me


Interviews & Videos Brené Brown in Video, Audio, and Print

  • Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    by Leigh Newman

    Can't wait! 

  • Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    by Krista Tippett
  • The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    by Dan Ariely
  • Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    by Harriet Lerner
  • Rhythm And Repose
    Rhythm And Repose

    Tender and beautiful. 

  • Boys & Girls
    Boys & Girls
    by Alabama Shakes

    Love this album! So happy when I saw BrainPicker post this on her site! 

  • City of Refuge
    City of Refuge
    by Abigail Washburn

    Pure magic!

  • Some Nights
    Some Nights
    by Fun.
  • She Ain't Me
    She Ain't Me
    by Carrie Rodriguez

    I'm such a fan. 

  • I'm Your Man
    I'm Your Man
    by Leonard Cohen

    Take this Waltz is on my top ten list of all songs!

  • Babel
    by Mumford & Sons
  • Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
    Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)

    So totally addicted to this series! Absolutely amazing!

  • Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    starring Rufus Sewell

    Based on your recommendations from a recent blog post! It's another wonderful BBC mystery series! 

  • The Good Wife: The First Season
    The Good Wife: The First Season
    starring Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi

    One of the best shows on TV. Juiliana Marguiles is incredible. 

  • Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    starring Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Lia Williams, Stephanie Cole, Ian McNeice

Welcome. I'm Brené Brown. I’m a mom, researcher, writer, activist, wannabe photographer and lover of twinkle-lights (not to mention a former 2-year old beret-wearing free spirit).

I’m a member of the research faculty at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, where I’ve taught graduate courses on shame and empathy, global justice and women’s issues for the past ten years. I’ve spent the past ten years studying authenticity, shame, and belonging, and how these powerful emotions affect the way we live, love, parent, work and build relationships. You can read more about my work under bio.

I have two beautiful kids, Ellen (9) and Charlie (3). Steve is my husband and we’ve been married for 15 years (together for 22). He’s the best man I’ve ever known – as Trisha Yearwood sings, “. . . A little bit of outlaw, a little bit of Jesus.”
My story. 2007 was a really long, anxiety-provoking year. My book was released in February, I had a grueling travel schedule and, well, I kinda fell apart. It wasn’t the kind of breakdown you could see from afar, but up close it was pretty tough. It seems after 40 years (42-2), I finally got tired of choosing between the truths of my life. It finally hit me that my need to be one thing with one set of rules and one measurement for success wasn’t going to pan out (e.g., mother, professor, writer, room parent, cultural critic, toddler toe-nibbler, social worker, product junkie, foodie, feminist, etc.). Part of the struggle was self-imposed: I like things neat and compartmentalized. Part of it came from the outside, especially from my colleagues. People seek safety in titles and labels they can get their heads around. They don’t like messy combinations that defy textbook logic (especially when they wrote the textbook).

I spent last year learning how to be still and get comfortable with vulnerability and the notion that I might be too complicated (read weird) to fit in the standard “About Me” box. Then I realized that no one fits in that box. We’re all tired of stuffing ourselves in a two-line bio (read we’re all weird). My therapist suggested that I “stop alternating and start integrating” (Diana is my therapist – this is Dianaism #1).  I think I also heard her say something like, “Read your own damn book.”  I don’t count that as a Dianaism because I feel it lacks a certain guru-ishness and it has a little “shame and perfectionism researcher, heal thyself” ring to it.  Eek.

My blog. This blog is a way to celebrate the idea that it’s much more fun to discover who I am rather than create the person that I’m supposed to be (Dianaism #2 – stop creating start discovering). The term “Ordinary Courage” is something I came across in my research. You can read more about it here. The bottom line is that ordinary courage is about telling your story with all of your heart. My blog is a space for my story.

I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the questions I’ve been asked over the years. The questsions come from different places - some come from my graduate students and others were posed by strangers at book signings or lectures. I used to struggle to answer these or get really defensive about just being asked. When I'm in a good place with my integrating and discovering, the answers seem much more clear:

Is your work about mental health issues or social issues? Both. I believe separating the two makes us crazy and makes the world more dangerous.

You’ve been described as a serious academic researcher and a storyteller. Which is it? Both. I study people’s stories and I retell them along with some of my own. Giving voice to our experiences is the most powerful way to teach and to learn – stories are data with a soul.

Is it hard to be a mother and an activist?  I think it’s impossible not to be both. I’ve always been an activist. Now, when I look at my children I realize that fighting for a better world is not a choice, it’s an ethical responsibility – a commitment bound by profound love and respect for my own children and everyone else’s. We all just need to find a form of activism that inspires us.

Do I work or am I a full-time mom? Both. I don’t know any mother who doesn’t work and there’s no such thing as a part-time mother. Dumb question. I’m tired of being asked and I’m tired of asking myself.

Do you study shame because you have it or you heal it? Both. Shame is universal – we all struggle with feelings of inadequacy and the need to be perfect. I’m certainly not immune. If I’m in a bad place, a Pottery Barn Kids catalog can make me feel like an unfit mother (aren’t monogrammed beanbag chairs and gingham-lined baskets a basic human right?). However, after spending years interviewing hundreds of men and women about shame and resilience, I’ve learned a few things that have changed my life and that I believe are worth passing on to others.

Do you think healing and resilience come from psychology or spirituality? Both. Emotional wellness and the human spirit are inextricably connected – the mind’s eye is housed in the heart.

Are you devout in your faith or are you uncertain? Both. I question because I believe.

(This is the latest) Will this be a serious blog or one of those kid picture blogs? Both. Hey, wait  a minute. Are you saying that pictures of my kids aren't very serious? Shaddup.

Now for the important questions . . .

Clogs or cowboy boots? You can’t make me choose. I won’t do it. I’m a German-American Texan, which doesn’t make me unique in these parts; however, it does give me the footwear birthright to both clogs and boots (black patent leather Danskos are my trademark favs).  You’ll also catch me in Reefs during the hot Texas summer (March–October). Oh yea . . . Oprah (and my friend Laura) have me clomping around in the Nike Air Cole Hahn pumps. They’re pretty comfortable, but they ain’t boots.

So, now you know a little bit about me and my diagnosable bothness,  I hope you’ll stop by and visit. Please feel free to join the conversation – there’s plenty of room for good-hearted, respectful discussion and debate (unless we're talking about those serious pictures of my kids - then only oohing and aahing will be tolerated).