We all need our heroes. Those people who help lift us up and remind us how we want to live, what matters to us, and what we’re capable of—especially when we feel discouraged and fragmented.

I find the people who move me most, especially as I get older, aren’t those who seem untouchable. It’s those who are honest about their humanity—their questions, falls, and failings. Their honesty reminds me I’m not alone. It also reminds me that continuing to press forward to live a life I can really put myself behind is absolutely worth it to me.

Researcher-storyteller Brené Brown is a favorite of mine, and of a lot of volunteers I know. One of the big things I think makes her resonate with us is her bottom-line understanding we share that “Connection is why we’re here. It gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

Connection with others, and also connection with and compassion for ourselves. So the next time you just need a pick-me-up, here are 8 go-to Brené Brown quotes to help you feel more connected, whole, and inspired to live your best life.

1. On what makes people Wholehearted:

“The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging . . . The original definition of courage, from the Latin word cor, meaning heart, was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

“These folks had the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first, and then to others, because as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with others if we can’t treat ourselves kindly. They had connection—and this was the hard part—as a result of authenticity. They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were.”

“The other thing they had in common was this: they fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable was what made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor did they really talk about it being excruciating … They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say I love you first. They talked about the willingness to do something when there are no guarantees … They thought this was fundamental.”

-Brené Brown, The power of vulnerability TED talk

2. On cutting to the chase with what’s important:

“What’s worth doing even if I fail?”

-Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

3. On speaking to—and disarming—shame:

“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. That’s why it loves perfectionists—it’s so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither. Just the way exposure to light was deadly for the gremlins, language and story bring light to shame and destroy it.”

-Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

4. On why to lean into vulnerability:

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

-Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

5. On living from your values, not what others think: 

“You still want folks to like, respect, and even admire what you’ve created, but your self-worth is not on the table. You know that you are far more than a painting, an innovative idea, an effective pitch, a good sermon, or a high Amazon.com ranking. Yes, it will be disappointing and difficult if your friends or colleagues don’t share your enthusiasm, or it things don’t go well, but this effort is about what you do, not who you are. Regardless of the outcome, you’ve dared greatly, and that’s totally aligned with your values; with who you want to be.

“. . . [When things don’t go well], shame resilience is the ability to say, ‘This hurts. This is disappointing, maybe even devastating. But success and recognition and approval are not the values that drive me. My value is courage and I was just courageous. You can move on, shame.'”

-Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

6. On spirituality and a connection to something larger:

“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”

-Brené Brown, Rising Strong

7. On how no time is wasted, and your full experience makes you whole:

“Curiosity led me to adopt and live by the belief that ‘nothing is wasted’—a belief that shapes how I see the world and my life. I can now look back at my often rough-and-tumble past and understand how dropping out of school, hitchhiking across Europe, bartending and waiting tables, working as a union steward, and taking customer service calls in Spanish on the night shift at AT&T taught me as much about empathy as my career as a social worker, teacher, and researcher. I used to look back at those far-flung dots as mistakes and wasted time, but allowing myself to be curious about who I am and how everything fits together changed that. As difficult and dark as some of those times were, they all connect to form the real me, the integrated and whole me.”

-Brené Brown, Rising Strong

8. On how no one belongs here more than you:

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”

– Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness

I hope these quotes were a valuable read, but I can’t possibly pack all of Brené Brown’s goodness into one blog post :). What other quotes by her lift you up? What actions do they inspire you take in your life right now? Please tell us about it in the comments. Writing it down makes it more real for you, and helps others know they’re not alone. 

If you liked this blog, please also consider sharing it with others who might appreciate a Brené pick-me-up. Finally, want more support building your best life? Sign up for your free starter course, 5 Steps to a Fulfilling Life After Service, right here.