Inspiration from Brené Brown as she shares her personal quest to know herself and her dedication to understand humanity.
Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, an inspiring author and storyteller. came to prominence after recording one of the most successful Ted Talks of all time with more than 30 million views, The Power of Vulnerability (watch the video below). Brené argued that to live a full life requires courage – and showing courage means doing things that make you feel vulnerable.
Brené has a way with words that feel like she’s talking specifically to you.
Words of inspiration and wisdom from Dr. Brené Brown:
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.
Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else. If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.
Anger is a catalyst. Holding on to it will make us exhausted and sick. Internalizing anger will take away our joy and spirit; externalizing anger will make us less effective in our attempts to create change and forge connection. It’s an emotion that we need to transform into something life-giving: courage, love, change, compassion, justice.
There is a line. It’s etched from dignity. And raging, fearful people from the right and left are crossing it at unprecedented rates every single day. We must never tolerate dehumanization—the primary instrument of violence that has been used in every genocide recorded throughout history.
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.
There are infinite numbers of do overs for your teen girls.
The most powerful teaching moments are the ones where you screw up.
If we own the story then we can write the ending.
Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.
We have to be women we want our daughters to be.
You are imperfect & you are wired for struggle; but you are worthy of love & belonging.
It’s not about “what can I accomplish?” but “what do I want to accomplish?” Paradigm shift.
Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.
What we know matters but who we are matters more.
Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.
Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.
Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.
I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?
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.
Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.
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.
Perfectionism is self destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.
Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.
Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.
Perfectionism is not the same thing has striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.
We can talk about courage and love and compassion until we sound like a greeting card store, but unless we’re willing to have an honest conversation about what gets in the way of putting these into practice in our daily lives, we will never change. Never, ever.
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.
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.
Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it’s about creating a clearing. It’s opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question.
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.
Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves.
To be a whole-hearted person you have to have: courage (to tell your story with your whole heart), compassion (be kind to yourself and then to others), connection (let go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are), and vulnerability (having this makes you beautiful).
“You can’t give children what you don’t have yourself,” says Brené Brown. “No matter how much importance you place on it.” For instance, you can’t raise children to be more resilient to shame than you are yourself. “I can encourage my daughter to love her body,” she says, “but what really matters are the observations she makes about my relationship with my own body. Damn it. So 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?'”
Being ourselves means having to find the courage to stand alone.
See for yourself:
Dr. Brené Brown has spent years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five New York Times bestsellers – The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, I Thought It Was Just Me: But It Wasn’t and Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and The Courage to Stand Alone.
If you’re intrigued and inspired, you want to check out the latest of Super Soul Sunday with Oprah and Brené, Life Lessons We All Need To Learn.
Have you read any of Brene Brown’s books? Do you have a favorite? Which book would you like to read?
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