Harry has been reading Brené Brown and it Shows. 

Harry has been reading Brené Brown and it shows. 

My sister and I were among the many people who flocked to the recent magical Harry Styles concert here in Austin. It was probably our first indoor concert in about two and a half years, and we brought my niece and her three friends with us. It was so inspiring to see mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends of all ages let loose and have fun.

As we enjoyed the show, it became clear that Harry Styles—who I find to be the epitome of creativity, love, and energy—has done a ton of therapy. And I saw some overlap between how he showed up and Dr. Brené Brown’s work.

So let’s explore what that looks like and think about how we can all take a page from the H. Styles Therapy Playbook:

Harry expressed gratitude and appreciation, like saying “Thank you ATX for having me,” at least 30 times in a set that lasted about 90 minutes.

Gratitude is a practice of seeing the good not only in people but in circumstances. In Brené‘s book Atlas of the Heart she says, “There is overwhelming evidence that gratitude is correlated with better sleep, increased creativity, decreased entitlement, decreased hostility and aggression  increased decision making skills, decreased blood pressure and the list goes on” (it’s on page 211 if you want to look it up or read more).

Ok, I’m convinced. No wonder Harry can do an aerobic performance for 90 minutes!

Many of my clients make a gratitude list in the evening, and a group of colleagues have texted gratitudes to each other for over 10 years. Appreciating the little things is a simple but powerful way to end your day.

As he introduced the concert, Harry reminded us that our job is to have fun.

It’s been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to scream song lyrics and dance like nobody’s watching.

This, of course, reminded me of one of my favorite guideposts in Brené’s book The Gifts of Imperfection (known around here as “The Gifts”), number 10: “Cultivating laughter, song, and dance: letting go of being cool and always in control.”

Personally, I come from a long line of control freaks—it seems genetic at this point. (Sorry B and B.) So this can feel hard for me sometimes.

One technique from this book (that is a constant in all Brené’s curricula) is making a playlist. I have many playlists for many moods and situations, called things like My Life Sucks, Don’t Quit (I use this one mostly when running), Calm the F— Down, and more. I even have a Soul Sisters playlist that my high school friends and I share on Spotify (yes, we named ourselves and we have a pink flamingo mascot). If you’re craving some good 80s tunes, check it out.

What would it be like to dance, sing or just act goofy for a few minutes each day? Let’s ask Harry because he managed to do all on his Love On Tour—and yes, I do think the results could look like loving yourself and others even more.

Harry talks about going to therapy all the time, he encourages others to go as well, and rumor has it his therapist even attended one of his concerts.

If you’ve ever listened to Brene’s podcast, you know she sometimes invites her sisters on the show. They say “do your work” a lot, and it’s true—going to therapy is not always easy. But it really pays off.

For example, Harry seems to express creativity through his appearance, which for many of us is challenging! It’s easy to think, “What will people think if I wear my glitter shoes today?” For Harry, the answer seems to be: “Who cares?” And I can’t say for sure, but I’m wondering if that comes up for him in therapy sometimes.

(Side note: Folks, please stop commenting on his outfit’s lack of feathers and sparkles! It’s Texas and it’s hot here. If you can run a half-marathon in a boa, go for it—but I think most of us would agree that feathers and heat don’t mix well unless you’re a bird!)

How are you “doing your work” and finding ways to be who you truly are, whether that involves feathers and glitter or something else (like making the kind of art you love, reading books that make you happy, or doing something else that others might find odd but that make you feel alive)?

Lessons learned, Harry & Brené.

And I will continue to learn them.


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