Here are 50 Deeply Inspiring + Insightful Quotes From Brené Brown

Brené Brown Quotes

Author Photo Credit: Maile Wilson

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Brené Brown.

I hope you will find these quotes inspiring and insightful.

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

- Brené Brown

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

- Brené Brown

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3. "The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness." 

- Brené Brown

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

- Brené Brown

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5. "We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as were meant to be. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache … The absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering.

- Brené Brown

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6. "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.

- Brené Brown

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7. "Wholeheartedness. There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.

- Brené Brown

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8. "Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.

- Brené Brown

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

- Brené Brown

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10. "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.

- Brené Brown

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11. "Integrity is 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.

- Brené Brown

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12. "If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.

- Brené Brown

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13. "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.

- Brené Brown

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14. "Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

- Brené Brown

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15. "You can choose COURAGE or you can choose COMFORT, but you cannot choose BOTH!

- Brené Brown

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16. "Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism.

- Brené Brown

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17. "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.

- Brené Brown

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18. "Healthy striving is self-focused: "How can I improve?" Perfectionism is other-focused: "What will they think?”

- Brené Brown

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19. "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. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.

- Brené Brown

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20. "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.

- Brené Brown

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21. "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.

- Brené Brown

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22. "We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.

- Brené Brown

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23. "'Crazy-busy' is a great armor, it's a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we're feeling and what we really need can't catch up with us.

- Brené Brown

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24. "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.

- Brené Brown

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

- Brené Brown

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26. "Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

- Brené Brown

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27. "Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: "Who has earned the right to hear my story?"

If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.

- Brené Brown

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28. "When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging.

When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. 

Our sense of worthiness—that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging—lives inside of our story.

- Brené Brown

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29. "One of the biggest surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is one of the greatest barriers to belonging.

Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order 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.

- Brené Brown

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30. "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.

- Brené Brown

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

- Brené Brown

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32. "When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.

- Brené Brown

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33. "We put so much of our time and energy into making sure that we meet everyone’s expectations and into caring about what other people think of us, that we are often left feeling angry, resentful and fearful.

- Brené Brown

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34. "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.

- Brené Brown

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35. "Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal.

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

- Brené Brown

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36. "Shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling.

- Brené Brown

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37. "Knowing what I do now, I think about shame and worthiness in this way: 'It's the album, not the picture.' If you imagine opening up a photo album, and many of the pages are full eight-by-ten photos of shaming events, you'll close that album and walk away thinking, Shame defines that story.

If, on the other hand, you open that album and see a few small photos of shame experiences, but each one is surrounded by pictures of worthiness, hope, struggle, resilience, courage, failure, success, and vulnerability, the shame experience are only a part of a larger story. They don't define the album.

- Brené Brown

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38. "Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.

- Brené Brown

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39. "The question isn’t so much, Are you parenting the right way? as it is: Are you the adult you want your child to grow up to be?

- Brené Brown

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40. "The real questions for parents should be: "Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?" If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children.

Perfection doesn't exist, and I've found what makes children happy doesn't always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.

- Brené Brown

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41. "There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they’re inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed.

Emotional stoicism is not badassery. Blustery posturing is not badassery. Swagger is not badassery. Perfection is about the furthest thing in the world from badassery.

- Brené Brown

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42. "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.

- Brené Brown

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43. "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 connection with family and close friends.

- Brené Brown

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

- Brené Brown

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45. "We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.

- Brené Brown

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46. "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.

- Brené Brown

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47. "Pain is unrelenting. It will get our attention. Despite our attempts to drown it in addiction, to physically beat it out of one another, to suffocate it with success and material trappings, or to strangle it with our hate, pain will find a way to make itself known.

- Brené Brown

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48. "We do that by numbing the pain with whatever provides the quickest relief. We can take the edge off emotional pain with a whole bunch of stuff, including alcohol, drugs, food, sex, relationships, money, work, caretaking, gambling, affairs, religion, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism, constant change, and the Internet.

And just so we don’t miss it in this long list of all the ways we can numb ourselves, there’s always staying busy: living so hard and fast that the truths of our lives can’t catch up with us. We fill every ounce of white space with something so there’s no room or time for emotion to make itself known.

- Brené Brown

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49. "People may call what happens at midlife “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling—a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live.

The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.

- Brené Brown

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50. "We don’t want to be uncomfortable. We want a quick and dirty “how-to” list for happiness. I don’t fit that bill. Never have. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to skip over the hard stuff, but it just doesn’t work. We don’t change, we don’t grow, and we don’t move forward without the work.

If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about things that get in the way.

- Brené Brown

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51. "The new cultural belief that everything should be fun, fast, and easy is inconsistent with hopeful thinking. It also sets us up for hopelessness.

When we experience something that is difficult and requires significant time and effort, we are quick to think, This is supposed to be easy; it’s not worth the effort, or, This should be easier: it’s only hard and slow because I’m not good at it.

Hopeful self-talk sounds more like, This is tough, but I can do it.

- Brené Brown

Bonus: Enjoy Brené Brown's beautiful Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability.

About Brené Brown

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Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.

She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of ImperfectionDaring GreatlyRising StrongBraving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead, which is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership.

Brené’s TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 35 million views.

Brené lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Steve, and their children, Ellen and Charlie.

Now it's your turn, what are your favorite Brené Brown's quotes and why. Share them in the comments below.

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