100+ Brené Brown Vulnerability Quotes To Help You Turn It Into Strength

100+ Brené Brown Quotes To Help Turn Your Vulnerability Into Strength

December 12, 2019 Updated March 24, 2021

brene brown quotes
Marla Aufmuth / Contributor

Brene Brown is all about helping you be your best self. Not only is she the author of five amazing number one bestsellers which include “The Gifts of Imperfection”, “Daring Greatly”, “Rising Strong”, “Braving the Wilderness”, and “Dare to Lead,” but she’s also been a base for many people seeking comfort and strength. Her work centers around courage, leadership, vulnerability, and empathy. She is also a professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host.

So if you haven’t heard of Brené Brown, that’s about to change. The research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work is not only a bestselling author, she has also given one of the most popular TED talks of all time.  Brown is all about tapping into your own vulnerability as a source of strength. Here are 107 quotes from her that will have you feeling brave in no time.

Looking for more quotes to help you summon your strength? Check out our words of encouragementMonday motivations, and strength quotes pages. 

  1. “Cruelty is easy, cheap, and rampant.” 
  2. “Hope is a function of struggle.” 
  3. “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” 
  4. “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
  5. “Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.”
  6. “Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”
  7. “What we know matters but who we are matters more.” 
  8. “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.”
  9. “Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism.”
  10. “We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.”
  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.”
  12. “Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.”
  13. “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.”
  14. “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”
  15. “Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you ‘I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.’” 
  16. “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.”
  17. “Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”
  18. “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.”
  19. “I’ve found what makes children happy doesn’t always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.”
  20. “It’s in our biology to trust what we see with our eyes. This makes living in a carefully edited, overproduced, and photoshopped world very dangerous.”
  21. “You cannot shame or belittle people into changing their behaviors.”
  22. “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.”
  23. “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.”
  24. “If you own this story you get to write the ending.”
  25. “Even to me the issue of “stay small, sweet, quiet, and modest” sounds like an outdated problem, but the truth is that women still run into those demands whenever we find and use our voices.”
  26. “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. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
  27. “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”
  28. “The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”
  29. “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.”
  30. “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.”
  31. “I only share when I have no unmet needs that I’m trying to fill. I firmly believe that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not to the expectations I might have for the response I get.”
  32. “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.”
  33. “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.”
  34. “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?” 
  35. “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”
  36. “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 as*es kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”
  37. “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
  38. “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.”
  39. “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.”
  40. “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”
  41. “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” 
  42. “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
  43. “I carry a small sheet of paper in my wallet that has written on it the names of people whose opinions of me matter. To be on that list, you have to love me for my strengths and struggles.”
  44. “Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”
  45. “If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.” 
  46. “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
  47. “When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible.”
  48. “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.”
  49. “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
  50. “When we’re looking for compassion, we need someone who is deeply rooted, is able to bend and, most of all, embraces us for our strengths and struggles.”
  51. “Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.”
  52. “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”
  53. “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.”
  54. “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.”
  55. “Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it’s about earning approval and acceptance.”
  56. “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.”
  57. “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”
  58. “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!”
  59. “To me, a leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.”
  60. “Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
  61. “The willingness to show up changes us, it makes us a little braver each time.”
  62. “Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.”
  63. “We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.”
  64. “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.”
  65. “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, addiction, and life paralysis.”
  66. “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.”
  67. “Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
  68. “Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous.”
  69. “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” 
  70. “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.”
  71. “‘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.”
  72. “You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” 
  73. “Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
  74. “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. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
  75. “When the people we love stop paying attention, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in.”
  76. “We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.”
  77. “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.”
  78. “I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
  79. “It’s hard to practice compassion when we’re struggling with our authenticity or when our own worthiness is off-balance.”
  80. “Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.”
  81. “Everyone wants to know why customer service has gone to hell in a handbasket. I want to know why customer behavior has gone to hell in a handbasket.”
  82. “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.”
  83. “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.”
  84. “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.”
  85. “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
  86. “Healthy striving is self-focused: ‘How can I improve?’ Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?”
  87. “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
  88. “What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”
  89. “We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
  90. “We’re a nation of exhausted and overstressed adults raising over-scheduled children.”
  91. “To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
  92. “Dig deep — get deliberate, inspired, and going.” 
  93. “Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.”
  94. “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.”
  95. “Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky.” 
  96. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” 
  97. “Talk about your failures without apologizing.”
  98. “It’s not about ‘what can I accomplish?’ but ‘what do I want to accomplish?’”
  99. “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.’”
  100. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.”
  101. “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.” 
  102. “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.”
  103. “Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. And I will choose how the story ends.”
  104. “I believe that what we regret most are our failures of courage, whether it’s the courage to be kinder, to show up, to say how we feel, to set boundaries, to be good to ourselves. For that reason, regret can be the birthplace of empathy.”
  105. “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.’”
  106. “Shame loves secrecy. The most dangerous thing to do after a shaming experience is hide or bury our story. When we bury our story, the shame metastasized.”
  107. “We’re afraid that people won’t like us if they know the truth about who we are, where we come from, what we believe, how much we’re struggling, or, believe it or not, how wonderful we are when soaring.”