Meaningful Human Experiences – 10 quotes from Brene Brown’s book – Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

by Mark Votava

81-qH1O69UL (1)1. Honest conversations about vulnerability

“I believe honest conversations about vulnerability and shame can change the world… The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time…”

2. If you’re not in the arena

“If you’re not in the arena with the rest of us, fighting and getting your ass kicked on occasion, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

3. Embracing vulnerability and overcoming numbing

“…we are inextricably connected to one another by a force greater than ourselves – a force grounded in love and compassion. For some of us that’s God, for others it’s nature, art, or even human soulfulness. I believe that owning our worthiness is the act of acknowledging that we are sacred. Perhaps embracing vulnerability and overcoming numbing is ultimately about the care and feeding of our spirits.”

4. If we’re willing to dare greatly

“There is a quiet transformation happening that is moving us from ‘turning on each other’ to ‘turning toward each other.’ Without question, that transformation will require shame resilience. If we’re willing to dare greatly and risk vulnerability with each other, worthiness has the power to set us free.”

5. We need to feel trust to be vulnerable

“We need to feel trust to be vulnerable and we need to be vulnerable in order to trust.”

6. Dismiss vulnerability as weakness

“It starts to make sense that we dismiss vulnerability as weakness only when we realize that we’ve confused feeling with failing and emotions with liabilities. If we want to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite our passion and purpose, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and how to feel the emotions that come with it. For some of us, it’s new learning, and for others it’s relearning…”

7. Meaningful human experiences 

“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.”

8. The vulnerability of not knowing

“…the unwillingness to engage with the vulnerability of not knowing often leads to making excuses, dodging the question, or – worst-case scenario – bullshitting. That’s the deathblow in any relationship…”

9. Uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure 

“When we pretend that we can avoid vulnerability we engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be. Experiencing vulnerability isn’t a choice – the only choice we have is how we’re going to respond when we are confronted with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure…”

10. Empathy and understanding 

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive. Self-compassion is also critically important, but because shame is a social concept – it happens between people – it also heals best between people. A social wound needs a social balm, and empathy is that balm. Self-compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect, and experience empathy.”

How have you showed up in life being vulnerable?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist