If you’ve been around here long, you’ll know that I will rave about the wonderful Brené Brown day and night if let go. I discovered her last year on recommendation of my therapist at the time, who thought that her work on vulnerability and shame would do me some good. Since then, I’ve been recommending her work to everyone. If you’ve not yet been introduced to her work, here are 12 quotes which might get you thinking (and entice you towards her books) this January.
So, let’s get started.
1. Are You The Adult You Want Your Child To Become?
Let’s start with the big stuff, the stuff that keeps us awake at night (well, it does for me anyway). As a parent, I suffer with a huge amount of guilt about how I perceive my parenting, my child, my actions. Guilt that is pointless, even I can see that, because it does about as much good for my parenting as handing my child an espresso to get him to go to sleep will do (hint: this isn’t something I’m ever likely to do). But sometimes I do wonder if the actions I’m doing are what I would want him to do, if the way I treat and speak to people is how I would like him to be. It gives me pause, and makes me a bit more mindful about what he is observing.
2. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
We can all ignore the dark sides, the anger, the frustration, and push it down and get on with our lives, but if we do that, are we really opening ourselves up for feeling the heights of the joyous things too?
3. Share With People Who Have Earned the Right to Hear Your Story
This quote resonates with me so much. We all have struggles, big and small, but nobody has the right to hear about them all. We can choose who and what we trust with that intimate knowledge, it is not anybody’s right to hear it. In a world where everyone is always on, all the time, it can feel like we aren’t entitled to keep our own stories to ourselves, which is anything but the truth. Choose those who you confide in wisely.
4. There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Fact.
Look at the biggest companies in the world; do you think they got it all right, all the time? Not a chance. As children, we are told “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. There is no masterpiece made without a few drafts or a few balls of paper being balled up and flung in a corner (or five hundred), and from this failure comes learning, and bettering of yourself and the end product. I really like this quote as a reminder to keep trying even when it feels like it’s all just becoming a big mess.
5. Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.
From her book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.”, this quote speaks to me. Life is exhausting. It’s exhausting trying to be perfect, trying to get everything right, keeping everyone alive and ticking over on a time schedule that seems to speed up the more we need to get done. And at times, it feels like we really shouldn’t bother any more, because why get out from under the duvet and show up if we’re just going to be big failures anyway? Why bother heading to the awards ceremony when we’re never going to win? Why turn up to the Parents Day if it feels like you’re not going to wind up actually connecting with any of the rest of the parents? Well, turn up and find out, life can surprise you. I’m not saying you’ll win, or be the most popular person in the room, but from little acorns, and all that.
6. If we own the story then we can write the ending.
We have to face up to the whole story of our lives and take control of them before we can figure out how the story ends. Brushing problems like mental illness, addiction, guilt and other big-ticket items under the rug won’t allow us to fast track our way to a happily ever after, these things always bubble up eventually and when they’re not dealt with properly, can end up having worse consequences than they would have previously. By taking on our struggles and dealing with them, we manage to change the story to our own narrative, therefore taking control of our own lives.
7. Don’t try to win over the haters, you are not a jackass whisperer
This one makes me laugh each time I read it. In blogging, moreso than general life, you do come across “haters” – people who leave unnecessarily mean comments, who use their jealousy to bring other people down. But how we react to these people shows a lot about who we are, and how we interpret ourselves. It can be too easy to try “kill them with kindness” instead of fighting back against them, but in some cases, it’s simply time to say “Nope, I’m just not bothered” and rising above, because, as Brené Brown says – you are not a jackass whisperer. Keep this one for the next time someone mumbles a bitchy comment, or you see a harsh comment online – it’ll turn it around for you.
8. What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.
This is especially true when it comes to parenting. Mum shaming is a MASSIVE issue. Nobody wants to be the mother with the three year old losing their shit in the supermarket, but we have all been there (and if you haven’t, your day is coming). It’s not fun, it’s certainly not pleasant and it feels like the whole world is staring at you and your child. Shaming parents for being human is not going to make their child behave better, or them into better parents. Compassion, understanding and a knowing nod in their direction goes a long way to making them feel less like two inches tall and more like the parent they know they are.
9. You need at least one friend who will help you move a body. No judgment. There in a second. No explanation.
Do you have a ride-or-die friend? It’s how we make it through this life, through those kind of connections. You know, just in case (but lets keep it to less dragging of dead bodies, more endless support when you need it, right?).
10.We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.
Independence is something that is revered in our society. Being a self-starter, an independent mind, capable of doing things solo – it’s all looked on with praise. But no man is an island, and this quote is a reminder that it’s okay to ask for help, okay to lean on those around us and work as part of a team instead of solo all the time.
11. You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.
I feel this should be one recited to children daily so it sinks into their psyche as they get older. We can often feel that our flaws make us lesser, and less worthy of the love and praise of others. That is simply not a fact.
12. In a society that says, “Put yourself last,” self-love and self-acceptance are almost revolutionary.
As a mother, this one is particularly eye catching to me. It can seem that our society tells us that we are last on the list. Behind our kids, behind our partner’s needs, behind the house, our friends, our families. But if we pile everything else onto us, and don’t bother with ourselves, we wind up running on fumes and in an unhealthy situation ourselves. So it seems self-care is what is needed, but it isn’t the norm. That’s why there are so many “this is how you do it” books and programmes out there for self care : our society doesn’t see it as something we CAN do naturally.
Those are just 12 of the many incredible quotes from Brené Brown’s work over the last few years. If you’re feeling a bit more inspired, you may well like to check out her TedXHouston talk about Vulnerability, or her Ted Talk about Shame.
I hope you liked this post. Brené Brown is someone I find incredibly inspiring, and I hope that these 12 quotes have also inspired you. I’d love to know which ones you like, or which ones catch your imagination. Let me know in the comments below!