If you’re not familiar with Brene Brown, she’s a professor of Social Work at the University of Houston who researches topics such as vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.
She’s also written several best-selling books. Some of her books focus exclusively on women but her most recent book – Daring Greatly – focuses on the role of shame and vulnerability in both men and women.
You might recall that this was one of the books in my recent book giveaway.
And while I can’t send books to everyone who entered the contest, I can share some of my favorite quotes from the book.
I’m going to post this without commentary because I think the quotes stand on their own.
These are definitely quotes that are worth thinking about and reflecting upon.
Without further ado…
20 Great Quotes by Brene Brown About Vulnerability
When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.
Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly
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.
Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability
Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.
Even if we choose to stay out of relationships and opt for disconnection as a form of protection, we’re still alive and that means vulnerability happens.
Experiencing vulnerability isn’t a choice—the only choice we have is how we’re going to respond when we are confronted with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.
We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.
When we spend our lives (knowingly or unknowingly) pushing away vulnerability, we can’t hold space open for the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure of joy.
We’re desperate for more joy, but at the same time we can’t tolerate the vulnerability.
Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen—and they do happen—we are stronger.
To claim the truths about who we are, where we come from, what we believe, and the very imperfect nature of our lives, we have to be willing to give ourselves a break and appreciate the beauty of our cracks or imperfections.
We either own our stories (even the messy ones), or we stand outside of them—denying our vulnerabilities and imperfections, orphaning the parts of us that don’t fit in with who/what we think we’re supposed to be, and hustling for other people’s approval of our worthiness. Perfectionism is exhausting because hustling is exhausting. It’s a never-ending performance.
We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.
When it comes to vulnerability, connectivity means sharing our stories with people who have earned the right to hear them—people with whom we’ve cultivated relationships that can bear the weight of our story.
The most powerful moments of our lives happen when we string together the small flickers of light created by courage, compassion, and connection and see them shine in the darkness of our struggles.
When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable.
It’s not that our children can’t stand the vulnerability of handling their own situations, it’s that we can’t stand the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure, even when we know it’s the right thing to do.
In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive.
Feel free to comment below on which quote was your favorite! Or you can add any personal reflections regarding vulnerability and the role that it plays in your life.