So many of us can remember the moment we first listened to storyteller and research professor Dr. Brené Brown’s Ted Talk (58+ million views on Ted’s site alone!). She spoke about vulnerability with such a refreshing perspective: “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” That was many years ago for me, and what a blessing to deepen in awareness about true belonging, habits of compassionate people, and ideas of wholehearted living to strengthen self-worth. In this post, you’ll find favorite Brené Brown Quotes as well as resources for prints, books and more.
“I’ve spent over 20 years studying the emotions and experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: We are hardwired for connection, and connecting requires courage, vulnerability, and conversation.”–Brené Brown
Pssst. Did you know she has a podcast called Unlocking Us? It is a an amazing source of hope as we all confront painful emotions, crave a sense of perspective, and struggle with the discomfort of vulnerability.
Brené Brown Quotes: Courage, Empathy & Vulnerability
But why? Why make space for all these words about cultivating courage? And what’s to gain as we lean into deeper levels of vulnerability? We all have work to do. We all experience painful feelings of shame and long for a greater sense of purpose. No matter your age, there are ways we all need to grow.
It may be a small thing, but I can’t think of a single social problem in the culture that cannot in part be healed by: A CHANGE OF HEART, a willingness to grow more humble, a transformation of spirit, a shift of mindset, and a long look in the mirror.
The Talk That Put Her Name on Our Lips
Brown encourages us to become more self-aware and discover a sense of belonging in spite of our imperfect selves.
I’m so grateful for the vocabulary her books have provided. She unpacks ideas about addictive belief systems, meaningful spiritual lives, wholehearted leadership, shame-based fears, and what healthy striving looks like.
Here’s how Brown helps us understand where our focus needs to be. “Healthy striving is self-focused: How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused: What will they think?”
I wish her books and teaching had been available when I was a struggling young parent facing challenges I felt ill equipped to meet.
What is it even mean to live wholeheartedly? “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.”
Best Selling Books by Brené Brown
The University of Houston professor often consults with corporate leaders. Concerning leadership, she says: “Courage is contagious. A critical mass of brave leaders is the foundation of an intentionally courageous culture.”
One of my favorite quotes from Brené Brown? “If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback.”
In her discussion of our collection of choices, how perfectionism hampers success, and how rage and bad decisions are some of our greatest barriers, she reminds us how we are worthy of love and how cultivating a whole heart is never a waste of time.
“Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”— Brené Brown
The cultural importance of Brown’s work is particularly relevant just now as depression, anxiety disorders, addiction, narcissism, entitlement, and life paralysis are pervasive issues.
What is authenticity according to Brown? “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real.”
I appreciate Brown’s own vulnerability when she discusses spirituality, her own broken parts, and the necessity of letting go of our fear of uncertainty. Recognizing that so much of this territory is a place of mystery for most of us, she lends a helping hand by offering us new emotional vocabulary…and sometimes a script!
Vulnerability Quotes From Brown
Brown often cautions us about comparison. She writes, “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.”
Letting go of perfection and constant evaluation to embrace a greater level of self-acceptance is not a small thing and is a primary theme surfacing in this perfect book for perfectionists.
“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.”
“The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid — all in the same moment. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage, being both fierce and kind.” – Brene Brown
Why should we commit to exploring: the shadows, our fear of the dark and our inadequacies? She writes: “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Inspiring & Encouraging Wisdom Quotes
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”
Why journey into wild territory? “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.”
Courage is another recurring theme in Brown’s work. She writes, “If you trade in your authenticity for safety, you may experience… addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
Vulnerability is Not Oversharing
A lot of folks hear ‘vulnerability’ and think it means spilling your guts or disclosing an excess of personal material.
But that’s not it. Here is how BB explains the difference:
“Sharing appropriately, with boundaries, means sharing with people with whom we’ve developed relationships that can bear the weight of our story. The result of this mutually respectful vulnerability is increased connection, trust, and engagement.
Vulnerability without boundaries leads to disconnection, distrust, and disengagement. In fact…boundaryless disclosure is one way we protect ourselves from real vulnerability.”
Brene writes: “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
Quotes to Pin About Trust & Relationships
“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.”
Brené Brown Explains Blame
I love these short animated teachings and bet you will too!
Self-Kindness & Personal Growth Help
The Gifts of Imperfection
I’m not sure we can ever be reminded often enough that we are enough. But we are!
How Shame Shapes Us
Hand-Lettered Art With Quotes
Experience the Teaching of Brené Brown
Listen to Brené Brown’s teaching about trust taken from a poignant moment in her personal life as a parent:
If you don’t already have a Pinterest board devoted to meaningful quotes and words worth sharing, I hope you’ll create one and pin away!
Calm Quote Worth Sharing
Here’s what Dr. Brown told Gwyneth Paltrow in a chat last year about becoming more calm and less reactive:
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