20 learnings from Brené Brown that will change the way you live, love, parent and lead
March 18, 2017
I have been immersed in the work of Brené Brown for a few years now and I cannot tell you how much this work has impacted my life. It has been hugely life-changing in many ways. And I continue this work with my The Daring Way workshops and soon to come, Rising Strong workshops.
I want to share with you, some of these very impactful learnings, wishing that they will inspire you too:
1. Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do.
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.
2. Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.
It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up every morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to be 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.
3. The heart of compassion is really acceptance.
The better we are at accepting ourselves, the more compassionate we become. It is difficult to accept people when they are hurting us, or taking advantage of us or walking all over us. If we really want to start practicing compassion, we have to start setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their actions.
4. Worthiness does not have prerequisites.
The greatest challenge for many of us is believing we are worthy now, right this minute. So many of us have knowingly created/unknowingly allowed/been handed down a long list of prerequisites:
I’ll be worthy when I lose 20 pounds.
I’ll be worthy if I can get pregnant
I’ll be worthy if I get/stay sober
I’ll be worthy if everyone thinks I’m a good parent
I’ll be worthy when I can make a living selling my art
I’ll be worthy if I can hold my marriage together
I’ll be worthy when I make partner
I’ll be worthy when my parents finally approve
I’ll be worthy if he calls back and asks me out
I’ll be worthy when I can do it all and look like I’m not even trying.
5. A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men and children.
We are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to love, be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met we do not function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. There are certainly other causes of illness, numbing and hurt, but the absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering.
6. 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. There are people who consciously practice being authentic, there are people who don’t and then the rest of us who are authentic on some days and not so authentic on other days.
7. Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.
It is a myth that perfectionism and striving for excellence is the same thing. Striving for excellence is internally motivated, about us setting goals we want to achieve, about us getting clear on our values and how we want those values t show up every day and we want to be our best. Perfectionism is about “what will others think.” It is a defense mechanism. If I look perfect, live perfect, work perfect I can avoid or minimize shame, blame and criticism.
8. When we numb the dark, we numb the light.
There is no such thing as selective emotional numbing. There is a full spectrum of human emotions and when we numb the dark, we numb the light. 9. We judge others because we judge ourselves.
We judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we’re doing.
10. Values light the way when things get really dark.
We will struggle. We will even fail. There will be darkness. But if we are clear about the values that guide us in our efforts to show up and be seen, we will always be able to find the light. We will know what it means to live brave.
11. When we’re looking for connection and empathy, we need to share with someone who embraces us for our strengths and struggles – someone who has earned the right to hear our story.
When it comes to empathy, it’s often about connecting with the right person at the right time about the right issue.
12. Stay in your own lane. Comparison kills creativity and joy.
Comparison sucks the life right out of creativity and joy.
13. 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.
14. You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both.
When we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.
15. Courage is contagious.
Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver. And our world could stand being a little kinder and braver. 16. Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.
To create is to make something that has never existed before and there’s nothing more vulnerable than that.
17. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.
Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
18. 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.
Faith is essential when we decide to live and love with our whole hearts in a world where most of us want assurances before we risk being vulnerable and getting hurt. To say: “I’m going to engage wholeheartedly in my life,” requires believing without seeing.
19. There is no joy without gratitude.
The root of joy is gratefulness. We tend to misunderstand the link between joy and gratefulness. We notice that joyful people are grateful and suppose that they are grateful for their joy. But the reverse is true: their joy springs from gratefulness. If one has all the good luck in the world, but takes it for granted, it will not give one joy. Yet even bad luck will give joy to those who manage to be grateful for it.
20. What other people think of you is none of your business
Brene Brown: “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.”
Now, let me know what you think of these quotes. Any particular one that stands out and inspires you? I would love to hear from you!
If you have never read any of Brené Brown’s books I would highly recommend them. I have listed them below with a short description of how they differ from one another:
The Gifts of Imperfection – Be you! Daring Greatly – Be all in! Rising Strong – Fall, Get Up, Learn, Do it Again.