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(Image credit: Brene Brown)

It would be somewhat surprising if you haven’t yet heard of Brené Brown. A mother, research professor, storyteller, and author, Brené has dedicated her career to exploring themes like vulnerability, courage, empathy, and shame. Grounded and genuine, yet inspiring and uplifting – her work has resonated with millions around the world, inspiring us all to embrace vulnerability and live more authentic lives. I was going to summarise some of her key work, but realised it would be more effective to let it speak for itself.

So without further ado… here are some of our favorite Brené quotes – food for thought (and inspiration!) for your day.

 

1. “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.”

One of Brené Brown’s central ideas is the power of vulnerability. She argues that embracing vulnerability is essential for building meaningful connections and living a wholehearted life. Rather than seeing vulnerability as a weakness, she reframes it as a source of strength. Vulnerability allows us to show up as our true selves, connect with others on a deeper level, and foster empathy and compassion. Another goodie of hers describes vulnerability as “the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”

2. “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

Brene’s research also centres around ‘shame resilience,’ highlighting the destructive impact of shame on our lives. She defines shame as the belief that we are fundamentally flawed or unworthy of love and belonging. Shame resilience — therefore becomes the ability to recognise, acknowledge, and navigate feelings of shame. By confronting shame head-on and sharing our experiences with trusted individuals, we can break free from its grip and develop healthier self-concepts.

3. “Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.”

 

4. “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

 

5. “Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them — we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”

 

6. “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”

Brené often explores the various ways people protect themselves from vulnerability, referring to these protective mechanisms as ‘armour.’ Armour can take the form of perfectionism, people-pleasing, numbing behaviours (such as overworking or substance abuse), and cynicism. Brown encourages us to recognise our versions of armour (and to, as best we can dismantle them) in order to live more fulfilling lives.

 

7. “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.”

 

8. “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.’”

9. “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

10. “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”