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The Most Important Relationship

love is life

I heard Diane von Furstenberg talk today, and she totally blew me away.  I feel like I should go out and buy a new wrap dress tonight in her honor just to remember over and over again how her talk made me feel.  I’m not exaggerating – she was one of the most grounded, authentic, bright, self-assured, funny, ageless, wise, beautifully human people I have ever heard, and she gracefully put words to so many of the things I believe.

She made one brief, yet powerful comment that sums up who she is: “The most important relationship you have in life is the one you have with yourself” (she later re-framed this as your “friendship with yourself”).  After all, it’s impossible to have strong relationships with other people – your family, your partner, your kids, your colleagues, your friends – if you aren’t able to accept and embrace who you are.  As my mother told me from the time I was  little girl on, “you need to love yourself before you can love other people.”  Diane called this “smiling at your shadow.”

I’ve heard these words before – maybe even said them before myself – but for some reason they really rang true today.  She shared numerous stories about her hunger for independence, regardless of what relationships she was in.  She talked about being able to pursue audacious dreams and achieve amazing things because she knew who she was and she gave herself the love and care she deserved, minimizing self-criticism and self-doubt.  And she spoke about the lifelong quest for clarity about who we are and what we’re doing in the world.

Despite always being a little bit shy about standing ovations, I leapt to my feet after her talk to show my overwhelming gratitude – for both being a role model and for giving every woman in that room permission to treat ourselves with care…not in a way that minimizes the care of others, but as a way to make sure we have the energy to give our best to other people.  I now see my wrap dresses in a whole new light…and I can’t wait to channel my inner DVF every time I wear one.

Have you ever met someone who changed the way you thought about your life in a very short time?  Who was it, and what did you learn?

P.S. If you’re interested in a few other pieces of wisdom Diane shared today, here were some of my favorites:

  • “If you can pack a suitcase, you can organize your life.”
  • “Passion, instinct and love beat data every time.”
  • “You have to be serious at the base so you can be frivolous at the top.”
  • “The biggest gift you can give yourself is independence.”
  • “I have never met a woman who wasn’t strong.”
7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sara #

    Awesome!!! But what’s the story with the wrap dresses ? 🙂

    May 8, 2013
  2. I really, really love this. She isn’t someone I have paid much attention to (I don’t own a wrap dress!) but I love this mantra and I think it’s dead-on. Thanks for sharing this, Brynn!

    May 8, 2013
    • Rebecca — Me neither (unlike you, I’m massively fashion challenged). But she was totally amazing…I hope I can be a smidge as wise and grounded as she is someday…xo

      May 8, 2013
  3. She is amazing, I adore her wrap dresses (and how they manage to flatter just about everyone), and am also ever-inspired by the highs and lows of her career. She’s living proof of the long game — in the most gorgeous way!

    May 8, 2013

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