26 Beautiful Quotes To Read When You Feel Afraid, Weak, Or Vulnerable

Three years ago I was in a dark place. I was dealing with the repercussions of ending an abusive relationship and I was having a hard time seeing myself as worthy or lovable. A friend of mine going through something similar sent me a TED talk by shame researcher and storyteller Brené Brown. I broke down at the end of it. I bought her audiobook, and for the next several months I repeatedly listened to her research-backed evidence on the importance of being vulnerable, living authentically, and cultivating a sense of worthiness and self-love in ones life.

I am in a better place, and many of these quotes seem self-evident to me now, but I can remember moments sitting on the A/C train where they would resonate with me so much that I had physical reactions: laughter, tears of relief, and goosebumps. I began to understand that life could get better, and that learning to talk about shame was going to be the first step on my journey.

These are some of the most profound quotes from Dr. Brown’s research on shame, vulnerability, and authentic living. I highly recommend checking out her talks and books. Her new work, Rising Strong, is due out at the end of August.

On Vulnerability

1. “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”

2. “Worrying about scarcity is our culture’s version of post-traumatic stress. It happens when we’ve been through too much, and rather than coming together to heal (which requires vulnerability) we’re angry and scared and at each other’s throats.”

3. “Of all the things trauma takes away from us, the worst is our willingness, or even our ability, to be vulnerable. There’s a reclaiming that has to happen.”

4. “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.”

5. “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

6. “Most people believe vulnerability is weakness. But really, vulnerability is courage. We must ask ourselves…are we willing to show up and be seen?”

7. “Vulnerability is not about fear and grief and disappointment. It is the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for.”

8. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change. It’s also the birthplace of joy, faith, and connection. To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that.”

9. “We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us.”

On Shame

10. “Guilt [is saying] I am sorry I made a mistake. Shame [is saying] I am sorry I am a mistake.”

11. “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

12. “Laughter is the evidence that the chokehold of shame has been loosened. Knowing laughter is the moment we feel proof that our shame has been transformed. Like empathy, it strips shame to the bone, robs it of its power and forces it from the closet.”

13. “Shame cannot survive being spoken…and being met with empathy.”

On Living Your Story Fully

14. “Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”

15. “Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism.”

16. “Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”

17. “When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.”

On Perfection

18.“When perfectionism is driving, shame is always riding shotgun.”

19. “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.”

20. “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.”

21. “Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?”

22. “Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.”

On Love And Worthiness

23. “Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them- we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”

24. “Worthiness has no prerequisites”

25. “Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.”

26. “How much we know and understand ourselves is critically important, but there is something that is even more essentially to living a wholehearted life: loving ourselves.” TC mark

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