The Best Brené Brown Quotes

If you follow me on Pinterest, then you know that I could spend all day pinning quotes. I can’t help it. I just get lost in the pretty words. In high school, I used to practically highlight my favorite books to death (I think I highlighted or added a note to almost every page of Their Eyes Were Watching God), and in college, I plastered my dorm room’s walls with beautiful poems, moving passages from books, and inspiring quotes. While there’s nothing wrong with a generically optimistic quote, I really prefer the words of people who tell it like it is. As you might have gathered from my posts about Cheryl Strayed and Tina Fey/Amy Poehler, I like hearing from women who don’t sugarcoat the truth, and Brené Brown is definitely one of those women. 

If you’re not already familiar with Brené Brown, she is a research professor, best-selling author, and an all-around bad ass lady. She has the magical ability to compress huge concepts into easily digestible nuggets of wisdom, and her spot-on advice always stop me in my tracks. Today I’m sharing 10 of my favorite Brené Brown quotes, and I hope her wise words give you a little bit of extra motivation as we head into the new week.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending."Everyone has a story, and I guarantee you that no one’s story is 100% sunshine and roses. Life is crazy and chaotic and unpredictable, but until we accept the things that have happened to us and try to find help, they will control our destiny. Please don’t feel weighed down by your circumstances. There is always hope, and the key to finding it is seeking it out. No matter how your story may have started, you have the power to change the ending. It may be the ending that you envisioned, but it can (and probably will be) something even better than you dreamed of.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "To the brave and brokenhearted who have taught us how to rise after a fall, your courage is contagious."While I admired so many of my mother’s qualities, I’ll never forget the courage and bravery she should each and every day. No matter what set-backs, failures, or tragedies happened in her life, she got up back on her feet and tried again. She wasn’t perfect, and she didn’t always succeed on her second or third or fourth attempt – but she kept trying. She didn’t deny her failures, but she didn’t let them hold her back either. While she carried this attitude into her parenting, friendships, and relationships, I’m not sure she was aware that her bravery was contagious. She made other people see that their failures were merely course corrections onto their intended path. She gave hope to hopeless situations. Her strength inspired others to be strong and improved the lives of so many people.

While I love how Brené shares that courage is contagious, I tend to think that all emotions are contagious. That’s why we need to be particularly careful when we choose which people to spend our lives with. If you’re surrounded by negativity, whining, jealousy, or anger, that’s going to rub off on you. Likewise, if you surround yourself with people who are kind, compassionate, brave, and ambitious, you’re going to see huge positive changes in your life. 

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "Contribute more than you criticize."I would like to plaster this quote on every wall in every room in every building in every city of the world. I feel like every conversation I hear on the media is centered criticism. Whether it’s politicians blaming the opposing party for ruining our country or internets commenters tearing people apart for no reason, the constant and overwhelming amount of criticism is beyond frustrating. Don’t get me wrong- I am a firm believer in the power of constructive criticism that contributes to the conversation.

Before you criticize, take a moment to consider the situation. Are your words adding value to the conversation? Will your words actually make a positive difference in the situation? If you really want to make a difference in any situation, take the energy you could put into criticism and use it to contribute something positive to the world. Do good work, inspire others, and change the conversation.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "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."It’s easy to feel like we have integrity within our hearts, but it a lot harder to show our integrity on an everyday basis. Integrity isn’t a trait that is shown by one single action. It’s the result of millions of tiny actions and decisions that we make every day. The path to integrity is harder and might be frustrating at times, but the extra effort is always worth it. You can’t put a price on having peace in your heart, so let’s show our true values everyday instead of taking the easy way out.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "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."I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “hurt people hurt people.” I know that I’ve been on both sides of this situation. I’ve done things that I regret because I was so angry, hurt, and sad about my situation at the time, and I’ve also felt the blows of people dealing with emotional turmoil. Believe me- neither side is pretty. Let’s inspire people to own their situation and find the help they need. I’m not going to lie. Feeling your pain instead of ignoring it and embracing your situation instead of pretending everything is alright is hard. It’s really hard. But it will ultimately lead you towards happiness, whereas drowning your emotions or stuffing away your pain will leave you hurting for the rest of your life.

If you’re hurting, please don’t be ashamed. We’ve all been there, and I promise there are good things waiting for you in the future. Take the first step and find some help, whether that’s through therapy, medical supervision, support groups, church, or just surrounding yourself with loved ones. If you’re not ready to get help for yourself, try to remember that helping yourself is ultimately going to help everyone in your life.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don't exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, what it may be - a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation - with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up."Brené is spot on with this quote. We must dare to show up to our lives. It’s so easy to coast through life and distract ourselves from our problems, but we can’t continue on that path. Put yourself in the line of fire. Being emotionally honest and vulnerable is a victory in itself. While it’s scary to take down our walls, embracing that fear helps us build the courage to become the person that we want to be. Every time that you put yourself into a vulnerable situation, you’re building up that muscle, and it becomes progressively easier to stay in  your emotional truth.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "We need more people who are willing to demonstrate what it looks like to risk and endure failure, disappointment, and regret. People willing to feel their own hurt instead of working it out on other people. People willing to own their stories, live their values, and keep showing up."It’s easy to think that we become who were intended to be from our successes, but that couldn’t be farther in the truth. Our strengths are built up over time when we endure failures and try again. The lessons we learn in our failures and the courage we develop from rising after a fall are the building blocks that lead to our future success.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "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. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends."We each have the power to change the ending to our story. When we go through a difficult time, it can feel like the end of the world, but in truth, it’s just the beginning. If you’re at a low point, make the decision today to start over. We may not be where we want to be, but we have the power to get there one step at a time.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary."Like everyone, I fall into the trap of thinking that each day isn’t special. I take family dinners for granted, and I don’t appreciate the miracle of each afternoon’s sunset. And it’s all because I stay focused on the bright and shiny possibility of tomorrow. I don’t want to discourage you from making goals for the future, but I promise you that they’re not more important than today. You won’t magically become happier when you get a promotion at your job, and your happiness won’t rise along with your income.

You don’t have as much time with anyone as you think you do, so appreciate every single hug from your mom, call your grandmother and tell her that you love her, step away from work for a few hours to take a walk with your brother, kiss your husband every single morning, and cherish every single smile from your niece and nephew. You think you have time, but you don’t – so enjoy the little things.

The Best Brené Brown Quotes | "Perfectionism is 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 taking flight."When I was younger, my perfectionism consumed me. I used it as a way to find control and order in my chaotic life, but it only held me back from the things that I wanted. I wouldn’t proceed with anything unless there was a 100% guarantee that I’d succeed, and I made excuses for my fear of failure and relabeled it my head as needing to work harder and prepare before I took a risk. Unfortunately, when you’re a perfectionist, you’re never going to feel prepared. You’re never going to good enough, so the time to shine never comes. It was only through therapy, love and support from my friends and family, and finding the courage to take down my walls that I overcame my perfectionist ways and embraced vulnerability. And in hindsight, I truly can see that while I though my perfectionism was guarding me from being hurt, it only weighed me down. 

Brené Brown’s words are so powerful, and they constantly inspire me to take charge of my life, find the courage inside of me, and not be a victim in the story of my life. If you’re interested in reading her brilliant books, I’ve linked her published works below. If you found inspiration in these quotes, please share this post with your friends! It might be just the message that they need today.

If you’d like to read more quotes from inspiring women, follow my Make It Happen board on Pinterest and check out these posts: 11 Quotes That Showcase The Brilliance of Tina Fey and Amy PoehlerCheryl Strayed Quotes That Will Change Your LifeLeap And The Net Will Appear, and Say Yes, Do More, And Be Better.


What is your favorite Brené Brown quote? Have you read any of her books?


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