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SXSW 2019: Dr. Brené Brown Shares Her Wisdom

A Texas native, Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor whose wisdom and words have spread vastly across the world. With talks on courage, empathy, vulnerability and shame, Brown has taught many (including myself) how to live freely and be the best version of yourself. This year at SXSW, she delivered more of her powerful words during a time we needed it most.

If you’ve attended SXSW, you likely know the emotional roller coaster it brings: excitement to exhaustion, euphoria to loneliness, joy to anxiety. In two words, it’s a beautiful mess. Kicking off the conference as SXSW’s first speaker of 2019, Brown gifted us with words of advice that will certainly stick with us and help us live out our best SXSW yet.

Freedom is not belonging

Brown opened the session quoting poet Maya Angelou, who has been one of her biggest influencers in life. “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” Joking that only God sounds like that, Brown then delved into how freedom is not belonging and the true meaning of belonging.

The meaning of “belonging”

Being a researcher, Brown has for years studied humans and how our brains are wired. We desire to be a part of something, but many of us don’t understand what it means to belong. One quote of Brown’s that will forever stick out to me was this: “True belonging never requires you to change who you are. It demands that you BE who you are.” Belonging is not about fitting in or conforming, it’s about being our genuine selves.

We should be a paradox

If there was one thing that Brown wanted us to take away, it was to call people out on their bullshit, but to do it in a nice way. Too often we allow people to speak out complete bullshit without any consequences. Brown’s thought is that we as humans should be a paradox, “tough and tender, fierce and kind.”

Connect to others

Brown expressed how important it is for us to experience collective emotions by connecting with those around us, whether friends or strangers. She shared her own personal experience dealing with the devastation that came from Hurricane Harvey and how she personally dealt with the pain all of those around her were dealing with. When it comes down to it, Brown suggests that we try not to fix things but instead just be present with the group or person experiencing pain.

Strong back, soft front and wild heart

At the end of the session, Brown left us with this one quote: “Have a strong back, soft front and wild heart.” Stand up for yourself, be kind to others, and be curious. That is how us Shuffle ladies will carry on through this SXSW.

For more coverage on SXSW, click here, and to follow the Shuffle team’s whereabouts during the next week be sure to visit our Instagram and Twitter.  

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