“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are…”

– Brené Brown

If you have yet to hear of Brené Brown, I URGE you to set aside a bit of your time to watch her hugely popular TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability.”

This world-renowned research professor & social worker spent decades doing what most of us avoid like the plague; delving knee-deep into subjects often regarded as taboo such as shame, perfectionism, and vulnerability.

Read More: Vulnerability: Why It’s Important to Shed a Light on Shame

A five-time New York Times best-selling author, Brené eloquently shares her findings in her books, talks, and podcast with the world in a way that inspires millions (including yours truly) across the globe to live life more boldly and authentically.

After all, she believes that “only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

While I have yet to meet her in real life, thanks to her priceless nuggets of wisdom, she has secured her place as one of my favorite human beings.

With that, below are my picks of Brené’s most insightful quotes. I hope they’ll empower you to honor your true self and start living life on your own terms. Enjoy!

Read More: The Trap of Perfectionism

“When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up, and say, ‘Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again’—my gut reaction is, ‘What a badass…”

“Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous.”

“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”

“What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?”

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

“In a society that says, ‘Put yourself last,’ self-love and self-acceptance are revolutionary.”

“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”

Connecting the dots of our lives, especially the ones we would rather erase or skip over, requires equal parts self-love and curiosity.”

“Courage is contagious. A critical mass of brave leaders is the foundation of an intentionally courageous culture. Every time we are brave with our lives, we make the people around us a little braver and our organizations bolder and stronger.”

“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.”

“Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimise the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

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

 “Here’s what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: worthy now. Not if. Not when. We’re worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.”

“What we know matters, but who we are matters more.”

“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time…”

 “There will be times when standing alone feels too hard, too scary, and we’ll doubt our ability to make our way through the uncertainty. Someone, somewhere, will say, ‘Don’t do it. You don’t have what it takes to survive the wilderness.’ This is when you reach deep into your wild heart and remind yourself, ‘I am the wilderness.”

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

“The opposite of belonging is fitting in…”

Read More: Dare to Live Life on Your Own Terms