All too often, we’re taught harmful ideas about what it means to be courageous.
We’re taught that courage means bulldozing our way through life without any regard for others, and that courage and compassion are mutually exclusive.
But Brene Brown aims to change all that.
As a research professor at the University of Houston, she knows a thing or two — and by “a thing or two,” we mean “a couple of decades worth of research” — about empathy, shame, and vulnerability.
She’s authored a number of books, given a number of talks, and actually walked the talk on the above subjects.
Below are some of her most memorable quotes.
60 Best Quotes by Brene Brown
1. “If we don’t allow ourselves to experience joy and love, we will definitely miss out on filling our reservoir with what we need when… hard things happen.”
2. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
3. “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
4. “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
5. “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
6. “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”
7. “Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.”
8. “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.”
9. “What we know matters but who we are matters more.”
10. “Healthy striving is self-focused: ‘How can I improve?’ Perfectionism is other-focused: ‘What will they think?’”
11. “What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”
12. “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”
13. “The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.”
14. “Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.”
15. “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.”’
16. “If you own this story you get to write the ending.”
17. “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”
18. “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
19. “Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.”
20. “Compassion is not a virtue — it is a commitment. It’s not something we have or don’t have — it’s something we choose to practice.”
21. “You cannot shame or belittle people into changing their behaviors.”
22. “To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
23. “Cruelty is easy, cheap and rampant.”
24. “Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.”
25. “No one reaches out to you for compassion or empathy so you can teach them how to behave better. They reach out to us because they believe in our capacity to know our darkness well enough to sit in the dark with them.”
26. “Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism.”
27. “When we are beating ourselves up, we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, ‘Man, I’m doing the very best I can right now.’”
28. “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.”
29. “Hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.”
30. “We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.”
31. “How can we expect people to put value on our work when we don’t value ourselves enough to set and hold uncomfortable boundaries?”
32. “Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
33. “Never underestimate the power of being seen.”
34. “Are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be?”
35. “Stay in your own lane. Comparison kills creativity and joy.”
36. “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
37. “We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
38. “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
39. “Grace will take you places hustling can’t.”
40. “We’re all grateful for people who write and speak in ways that help us remember that we’re not alone.”
41. “One of the reasons we judge each other so harshly in this world of parenting is because… we perceive anyone else who’s doing anything differently than what we’re doing as criticizing our choices.”’
42. “When we own our stories, we avoid being trapped as characters in stories someone else is telling.”
43. “We don’t judge people when we feel good about ourselves.”
44. “Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow.”
45. “Daring is not saying, ‘I’m willing to risk failure.’ Daring is saying, ‘I know I will eventually fail and I’m still all in.’”
46. “When we are in pain and fear, anger and hate are our go-to emotions.”
47. “Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
48. “Knowledge is only a rumor until it lives in the muscle.”
49. “We can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”
50. “The imperfect book that gets published is better than the perfect book that never leaves my computer.”
51. “The way to fight shame and to honor who we are is by sharing our experience with someone who has earned the right to hear it.”
52. “How much we know ourselves is extremely important but how we treat ourselves is the most important.”
53. “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
54. “Empathy is connecting with the emotion that someone is experiencing, not the event or circumstance.”
55. “The refugee in Syria doesn’t benefit more if you conserve your kindness only for her and withhold it from your neighbor who’s going through a divorce.”
56. “It’s crazy how much energy we spend trying to avoid these hard topics when they’re really the only ones that can set us free.”
57. “If we choose not to get involved or pretend it’s not happening, we’re going against the very sense of connection that makes us human.”
58. “When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding.”
59. “Being ourselves means sometimes having to find the courage to stand alone, totally alone.”
60. “I am enough.”
Which Brene Brown quotes will become your mantra?
If there’s one woman who’s truly redefined the word “badass,” it’s Brene Brown.
By challenging traditional notions of courage, compassion and what it means to be human, she espouses the very ideals put forth by her books.
She argues that, contrary to popular belief, strength is not about being invulnerable, and kindness is definitely not a weakness.
Rather, these are two things that go hand in hand, and that even if we’re not perfect, it’s okay to be comfortable with our imperfections.
Which Brene Brown quote is your favorite?
Do you agree with her ideas on vulnerability, shame, and empathy?