Most of us are feeling some sh*t we’ve never felt before.
The sweeping fear of a pandemic, the aching isolation of quarantine, the fragile heartbreak we feel over the deaths, the loss, the unemployment, the suffering.
There are the days when it feels doable, when it feels like we can get through this. And then there are the days when hope and comfort feel just out of reach.
For me, during a time like this, art helps. Words help. Perspective helps.
Which is exactly what Brené Brown so reliably provides.
So, here are 16 quotes from Brené Brown that perfectly get at those sticky, dark places our minds go to right now—and also get at the light, the beauty, the joy that can be found amidst devastating times.
1. “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”
2. “Cruelty is easy, cheap and rampant.”
3. “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.”
4. “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
5. “What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”
6. “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.”
7. “Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
8. “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
9. “You cannot shame or belittle people into changing their behaviors.”
10. “One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on ‘going it alone.’ Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into ‘those who offer help’ and ‘those who need help.’ The truth is that we are both.”
11. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
12. “The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”
13. “Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”
14. “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.”
15. “Hope is a function of struggle.”
16. “To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good. It means growing gentler toward human weakness. It means practicing forgiveness of my and everyone else’s hourly failures to live up to divine standards. It means learning to forget myself on a regular basis in order to attend to the other selves in my vicinity. It means living so that ‘I’m only human’ does not become an excuse for anything. It means receiving the human condition as blessing and not curse, in all its achingly frail and redemptive reality.”