Brené Brown is a lecturer and professor at The University of Houston but she's more well known for her 5 New York Times best-seller books and her Ted Talk “The Power of Vulnerability” that has over 54 million views so far.
And this week I’d like to share my favorite quotes from her.
Insightful, thought-provoking and practically helpful thoughts on happiness, shame, vulnerability, courage and more.
I hope you’ll find these Brené Brown quotes as helpful as I have.
And if you want more insights and advice about living your life fully then check out this post with you are enough quotes and also this one with quotes on inner peace.
Uplifting Brené Brown Quotes about Life, Happiness and Love
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”
“What we know matters but who we are matters more.”
“What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?”
“Everyone wants to know why customer service has gone to hell in a handbasket. I want to know why customer behavior has gone to hell in a handbasket.”
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
“Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’”
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.”
“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
“We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
“The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”
“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”
“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on “going it alone.” Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both.”
“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.”
“We desperately need more leaders who are committed to courageous, wholehearted leadership and who are self-aware enough to lead from their hearts, rather than unevolved leaders who lead from hurt and fear.”
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.”
“Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.”
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
“Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?”
“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”
“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.”
“Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.”
“The real questions for parents should be: “Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?” If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesn't exist, and I've found what makes children happy doesn't always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.”
“Nostalgia is also a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare our lives to a memory that nostalgia has so completely edited that it never really existed.”
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They're compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
You may also find this post with quotes on positive energy helpful.
Brené Brown Quotes About Shame and Vulnerability
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”
“Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both.”
“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
“I believe that what we regret most are our failures of courage, whether it’s the courage to be kinder, to show up, to say how we feel, to set boundaries, to be good to ourselves. For that reason, regret can be the birthplace of empathy.”
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
“Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimise the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”
“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”
“Shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling.”
“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.”
“Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”
“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”
“If you can’t ask for help without self-judgment, you cannot offer help without judging others.”
“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.”
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
“A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
“We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.”
Brené Brown Quotes on Courage, Empathy and Staying Strong
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
“Courage is contagious. A critical mass of brave leaders is the foundation of an intentionally courageous culture. Every time we are brave with our lives, we make the people around us a little braver and our organizations bolder and stronger.”
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.”
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”
“Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”
“When we work from a place, I believe, that says ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”
“When we are willing to risk venturing into the wilderness, and even becoming our own wilderness, we feel the deepest connection to our true self and to what matters the most.”
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
“But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others.… It's a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.”
“You may not have signed up for a hero’s journey, but the second you fell down, got your butt kicked, suffered a disappointment, screwed up, or felt your heart break, it started. It doesn’t matter whether we are ready for an emotional adventure—hurt happens. And it happens to every single one of us. Without exception. The only decision we get to make is what role we’ll play in our own lives: Do we want to write the story or do we want to hand that power over to someone else? Choosing to write our own story means getting uncomfortable; it’s choosing courage over comfort.”
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
“It’s not about ‘what can I accomplish?’ but ‘what do I want to accomplish?’ Paradigm shift.”
“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”
“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”
“When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up, and say, ‘Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again’—my gut reaction is, ‘What a badass.’”
“We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.”
“Talk about your failures without apologizing.”
“A crisis highlights all of our fault lines. We can pretend that we have nothing to learn, or we can take this opportunity to own the truth and make a better future for ourselves and others.”
“Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. And I will choose how the story ends.”
If you found these Brene Brown quotes helpful then share them with a friend or family member on social media or via email.
Want more motivation? Have a look at this post with 101 courage quotes and this one filled with quotes on handling toxic people.
Image Credit: Maile Wilson.
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This is such a great compilation of quotes! Everything from advice for yourself, your personal life, to your professional life. Very uplifting, and also humorous. Thank you for compiling them.