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Enlightening Brené Brown Quotes

These Brené Brown quotes address a wide variety of topics researched by the noted professor, author, and podcast host.

Brown’s profile increased dramatically after giving a thought-provoking TED talk in 2010. She continues to grow her audience through her books, podcast, and TV show.

Read on.

Best Brené Brown Quotes

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

Connecting the dots of our lives, especially the ones we would rather erase or skip over, requires equal parts self-love and curiosity: how do all of these experiences come together to make up who I am?

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?

We are a culture of the people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.

If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!

We cannot selectively numb emotions; when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.

Best Brene Brown Quotes and Sayings

Good Brené Brown Quotations

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.

The opposite of scarcity is not abundance; the opposite of scarcity is simply enough. Empathy is not finite, and compassion is not a pizza with eight slices. When you practice empathy and compassion with someone, there is not less of these qualities to go around. There’s more. Love is the last thing we need to ration in this world.

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, and life paralysis.

Inspirational Insights from Brené Brown

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.

We are born makers. We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.

Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds or even highly visible actions but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.

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.

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.

Healthy striving is self-focused: ‘How can I improve?’ Perfectionism is other-focused: ‘What will they think?’

Brené Brown quote on creativity

Short Brené Brown Quotes

Numb the dark, and you numb the light.

Strong back, soft front, wild heart.

Dig deep-get deliberate, inspired, and going.

There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.

Who we are is how we lead.

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.

Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.

Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.

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

We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.

What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.

Brené Brown on haters quotation

Brené Brown on Empathy

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.

Self-kindness is self-empathy.

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.’

Vulnerability Quotes by Brené Brown

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.

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.

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.

Brené Brown TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability Video

Being Vulnerable Sayings

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat; it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. And it’s being all in.

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.

If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; these are the physics of vulnerability.

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.

Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.

Being Hurt

It wasn’t always a choice; we were born curious. But over time, we learn that curiosity, like vulnerability, can lead to hurt. As a result, we turn to self-protecting—choosing certainty over curiosity, armor over vulnerability, and knowing over learning.

We are complex beings who wake up every day and fight against being labeled and diminished with stereotypes and characterizations that don’t reflect our fullness. Yet when we don’t risk standing on our own and speaking out, when the options laid before us force us into the very categories we resist, we perpetuate our own disconnection and loneliness. 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.

We need to trust to be vulnerable, and we need to be vulnerable in order to build trust.

Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement. Trust isn’t a grand gesture—it’s a growing marble collection.

Brené Brown on Leadership

I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and who has the courage to develop that potential.

A brave leader is someone who says I see you. I hear you. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to keep listening and asking questions.

If we want people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves, including their unarmored, whole hearts—so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people—we have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.

Daring leadership is ultimately about serving others, not ourselves; that’s why we choose courage.

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.

Daring leaders work to make sure people can be themselves and feel a sense of belonging.

Being a Leader

You cannot get to success without brave leaders and courageous culture.

Leaders aren’t supposed to have all the answers.

If you can’t have a conversation about feelings, you won’t be in a leadership role in five years’ time.

Our ability to be daring leaders will never be greater than our capacity for vulnerability.

Brave leaders are never silent around hard things.

The leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending the fears and feelings or squander an unreasonable time to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior.

Armored leadership is about being a knower, and being the right and daring leadership is about being a learner and getting it right.

Courage Sayings by Brené Brown

Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.

Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weaknesses.

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.’

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

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.

Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.

You can choose courage. You can choose comfort. And you cannot choose both.

Being Strong Insights

Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

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

Choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.

We will struggle and fall. We will know what it means to be both brave and brokenhearted.

So much of what we hear today about courage is inflated and empty rhetoric that camouflages personal fears about one’s likability, ratings, and ability to maintain a level of comfort and status.

We need more people who are willing to demonstrate what it looks like to risk and endure failure, disappointment, and regret—people willing to feel their own hurt instead of working it out on other people, people willing to own their stories, live their values, and keep showing up.

Courage is not staying quiet about things that make us uncomfortable.

Courage gives us a voice, and compassion gives us an ear. Without both, there is no opportunity for empathy and connection.

Being ourselves means sometimes having to find the courage to stand alone.

Need for Boundaries

Boundaries are simply our lists of what’s OK and what’s not OK. In fact, this is the working definition I use for boundaries today. It’s so straightforward, and it makes sense for all ages in all situations. When we combine the courage to make clear what works for us and what doesn’t with the compassion to assume people are doing their best, our lives change.

Yes, there will be people who violate our boundaries, and this will require that we continue to hold those people accountable. But when we’re living in our integrity, we’re strengthened by the self-respect that comes from the honoring of our boundaries rather than being flattened by disappointment and resentment.

Definition of Courage

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.

On Worthiness

You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.

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.

Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.

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.

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.

In a society that says, “Put yourself last,” self-love and self-acceptance are revolutionary.

What we know matters, but who we are matters more.

Here’s what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: Worthy now, not if, not when we’re worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.

Meaning of True Belonging Brené Brown Quotes

True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. And true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.

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 hearts against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.

Sometimes when we are beating ourselves up, we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, ‘Man, I am doing the very best I can right now.’

Brené Brown Quotes On Relationships

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.

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.

We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.

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.

When I let go of trying to be everything to everyone, I had much more time, attention, love, and connection for the important people in my life.

A Connected Life Brené Brown Quotes

Living a connected life ultimately is about setting boundaries, spending less time and energy hustling and winning over people who don’t matter, and seeing the value of working on cultivating a connection with family and close friends.

Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.

Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection, the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.

Brené Brown Quotes on Shame

Shame is the most powerful master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.

We desperately don’t want to experience shame, and we’re not willing to talk about it. Yet the only way to resolve shame is to talk about it. Maybe we’re afraid of topics like love and shame. Most of us like safety, certainty, and clarity. Shame and love are grounded in vulnerability and tenderness.

If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three ingredients to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in the petri dish and douse it with empathy, it 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.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.

Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.

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.

Dealing With Shame Brené Brown Quotes

Grace means all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame.

Shame is that warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed, and never good enough.

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.

Our culture teaches us about shame—it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. And, we weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other.

Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate. If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.

We hope you enjoyed these Brené Brown quotes.

By Brenna O’Halloran

Brenna is a freelance writer based in Santa Cruz, California.


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