Brene Brown Vulnerability Definition and Quotes with Images
Brené Brown is a world-famous social work research professor who has spent decades studying and teaching about courage, vulnerability, and shame. Her TED talk, Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 35 million views.
Here's some of what Brené has to say about vulnerability.
What's in This Post
|Brené's Own Experience With Vulnerability|
|Brené Brown's Definition of Vulnerability|
|More Brené on Vulnerability, Weakness, and Courage|
|The Connection Between Vulnerability and Intimacy|
|The Connection Between Vulnerability and Opportunity|
|See Your Whole Self|
|Own Your Story|
|Stretching Yourself is Both Rewarding and Challenging|
|You are Worthy|
|Resources for Letting Go of Your Emotional Baggage|
Note about links for Brené's books: I have placed the book links for your convenience. I may receive a small affiliate commission for purchases made through these links. My commission doesn't impact your price in any way.
Brené's Own Experience With Vulnerability
"I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad.
My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty:
Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.
Learning how to be vulnerable has been a street fight for me,
but it’s been worth it."
-- Brene Brown, quoted by Dan Schawbel in his Forbes 2013 article, "Brene Brown: How Vulnerability Can Make Our Lives Better."
Brené Brown's Definition of Vulnerability
“The definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.
But vulnerability is not weakness; it's our most accurate measure of courage.
When the barrier is our belief about vulnerability, the question becomes: 'Are we willing to show up and be seen when we can't control the outcome?'
When the barrier to vulnerability is about safety, the question becomes: 'Are we willing to create courageous spaces so we can be fully seen?”
Here's another graphic take on Brené's definition of vulnerability:
More Brené on Vulnerability, Weakness, and Courage
“Vulnerability is not weakness,
and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional.
Our only choice is a question of engagement.
Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose;
the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”
This quote from Brené reminds me of something a friend told me years ago. She was passing on something that her therapist said to her: "In your vulnerability, lies your strength."
The Connection Between Vulnerability and Intimacy
The Connection Between Vulnerability and Opportunity
“When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity.”
― Brené Brown quoting entrepreneur Gay Gaddis in Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
See Your Whole Self
“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.”
Own Your Story
"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
Stretching Yourself is Both Rewarding and Challenging
“And often the result of daring greatly isn’t a victory march as much as it is a quiet sense of freedom mixed with a little battle fatigue.”
For help stretching your comfort zone, check out this post: How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
You are Worthy
Resources for Letting Go of Your Emotional Baggage
Through decades of helping clients work through emotions and experiences that weigh them down and keep them stuck, I've figured out a lot about what helps and doesn't help. I created the Learn, Let Go, Lighten Up: Silver Lining Emotional Detox Journal & Workbook, so more people can experience the benefits that come with processing past and current challenges and letting go of the burdens. (You can think of it as emotional detox.)
- Ann Silvers