Peacemaking with Brene Brown
Peacemaking — as in, in this one-sided relationship I am in with Brene Brown, I worked at making peace with the irritation I felt toward her (and, honestly, I am well aware — it's incredibly awkward that I was irritated with "her" and not her content — I get it...I don't know her.)
Oct 6, 2021
(reading time: 4 min.)
Kelsey Weinkauf at Unsplash

Yesterday the sun shone perfectly through the trees much of the day. Sporadically, it hid behind a layer of clouds.

Made a walk in the woods feel almost inevitable. Coupled with that, I chose a podcast: Under the Skin with Russel Brand, interviewing Brene Brown.

Now. it might be helpful to know that I have recently been irritated with Brene Brown. I am not sure why. I chose this podcast episode because I have been the opposite of irriated with Russel Brand's content lately (in spite of his over-the-top egregious clickbaty headlines) and he said his interview with Brene Brown was a favorite of his.

Woods, sunshine, lazy creek beside the path — and lessons in Peacemaking awaited me.

Peacemaking — as in, in this one-sided relationship I am in with Brene Brown, I worked at making peace with the irritation I felt toward her (and, honestly, I am well aware — it's incredibly awkward that I was irritated with "her" and not her content — I get it...I don't know her.)

I am using this pseudo-relationship I am in with Brene Brown to consider my role as Peacemaker. In fact, I refined what this Underbelly Project really is all about recently, and came to the conclusion that Peacemaking is what undergirds the entire structure.

Making peace with your underbelly. With that yucky, icky, squishy stuff we don't want to look at, let alone love. Making peace with your neighbour's underbelly. Making peace so that we can all live our one most wild and precious life.

What is a Peace Maker?

I am modifying my definition of peacemaking from this lovely blog called "Counting My Blessings".

  1. Peace Making is not ego driven.
  2. Peace Making is God - led (or, more expansively, led from your understanding of a higher power)
  3. Peace Making is built on trust.
  4. Peace Making calls out and addresses conflict by name.
  5. Peace Making remains curious and open to being wrong - to changing one's mind.
  6. Peace Making speaks truth to power.
  7. Peace Making works toward resolution.
  8. Peace Making is courageous.

My Pseudo-Relationship With Brene Brown

Let's try this, shall we?

I am irritated with Brene. I began to listen to the podcast with Peacemaking in mind.

  1. I immediately noticed my ego — large, insecure, anxious, obscuring her message and honestly humiliatingly wanting to say to Russell Brand, "Hey, hey! Look at me! Listen to me!" <= Okay, I am exaggerating for effect, but on my cook quiet walk in the woods, intentionally listening to this interview to better understand my irritation with Brene Brown through the lens of Peace Making, the first most glaring thing I was aware of was my very large, awkward ego :)

I would like to gently suggest to you, dear reader, that you may also have an ego that may occasionally get in the way of your peace making in relationships :)

2. I'll just mention here that I was in prayer the entire time I was in the woods...and yes, that is incredibly important for effective peace making.

3. Trust. What a word. What a loaded word. Obviously, in a pseudo-relationship, trust is, well, different. But what I noticed is that clenching in my gut as I eased into the podcast interview. It's funny, in hindsight, but I also have a pseudo-relationship with Russel Brand. And over that last few months, listening to his interviews, I do feel that his interviews have integrity. I have built up confidence that he holds space in these interviews that is honest, forthright, and reliable. That really did help me to hear Brene Brown's words with clarity.

I would like to gently suggest that we sometimes, in our real relationships, we undermine the importance of trust? We need to build trust, then peace. We should not try to build peace on a broken trust foundation.

4. Ha! My "conflict" with my pseudo-friend Brene Brown is...drum roll...envy.  Envy of her fearless laughter. Envy of her ability to work with and call out corporate leaders. Envy of her popularity. Yuck.

Admitting the "conflict" is sometimes ... I don't know ... embarrassing?

5. Remaining curious during this interview was exceedingly helpful. I noticed that, for example when she spoke of parenting skills, I did feel respectfully that I could "Yes and" her parenting advice. And in this curiousity based listening soup I was enveloped in, I was not coming from a place of superiority but of a genuine "Yes and" Specifically, I chose to parent from a base of "choice theory" but on top of that a framework of not only "Gentle Christian Parenting/attachement theory" but also "Non Coersive Parenting" which, really, just takes choice to the nth power. It's an awesome way to parent, imho, and I was able to listen to Brene talk about how she parents and think, yes! Lovely! And also, perhaps you could go a bit further...

I also, in curiosity, easily let go of my envy. I realized that quite likely, were I to meet Brene Brown irl, she would be open and curious and quite likely not in a "superior" frame of mind. And that just opened me up.

I wonder, gently, about our "real" relationships and this mutual curiosity? I think it's entirely possible, and often helpful, to notice that it's really important to have both people in an open curious frame of mind. And it's okay to only go so far with peace making in a relationship if one person is not able to stay open and curious...

6. I gently spoke "truth to power" to myself during the interview. I realized, honestly, as soon as I was aware that envy was to blame, that I had a choice to make.

I could stay envious — honestly, her fearlessness is intimidating. One sentence blew me away, though. She said of some of her audience, "Did you even read the f****** book?" And I realized that a lot of my irritation is not with Brene Brown, herself, but with some members of her audience who seem to take her words out of context, or who may not have actually read her books deeply — or, alternatively, who read her work and do not think to add to it, but just spit it back verbatim, with no thought of their own.

7. and 8. By the end of the interview, I did feel like, in a small way, I had stepped into my courage and had come to resolution.

And I learned a thing or two.

— Step One —
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