I am grateful to the many authors who have published before me and influence my writing, including Dr. Brené Brown.

An author of four books and several TEDtalks, her most impactful book to me at the time was The Gifts of Imperfection, which I received as a gift for my 50th birthday. I was in the process of expanding version 1.0 of my story and her words spoke directly to my heart, in a profound and life changing way. After experimenting with various therapies and reading many books in search of a worthwhile definition for Love, I felt Dr. Brown’s words in The Gifts of Imperfection to be fitting, and the inclusion of Belonging in the definition seemed to round out the context into a more complete definition. Dr. Brown’s concepts of how are truest self is our most vulnerable and authentic self mirror those I have chosen to take away from my heart-opening journey, described in The Gift of Goodbye. My choice to be vulnerable and share my story, while exposing my deepest feelings and beliefs in a naked and raw kind of way, felt brave at the time, and now is backed up by her belief that “vulnerability – the willingness to be “all in” even when you know it can mean failing and hurting – is brave.”

Dr. Brown was in Nashville recently sharing her story about her latest book, Braving The Wilderness, to a sold out crowd. Her words she shared that speak to me most directly are to fully commit and belong to yourself first, regardless of outer circumstances. After all, belonging to yourself is something we each have 100% control over and no one can take away. My heart-opening journey has included a deepening of my faith, in addition to embracing belonging to myself. At my core, I have found peace within myself to just be, honoring the concept of partnering with the holy spirit in my practice of being still each day.

Thank you Dr. Brown for your research, storytelling, courage and leadership, you have made a difference in this fellow Texan’s life and paved the way for stories like The Gift of Goodbye.

“Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.” by Brené Brown. To learn more about Dr. Brené Brown, visit https://brenebrown.com/