We need to break free from this ‘cult of perfect’ we’ve somehow created and that’s where Dr Brené Brown comes in. 

Brené Brown studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She is not only a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work but her groundbreaking research on the impact of shame on our lives led her to give one of the most popular TED talks of all time.

Her 2010 TEDx talk called The Power of Vulnerability is one of the top 10 most viewed TED talks in the world with almost 30 million views and she’s appeared on Oprah, is a number one New York Times bestselling author.

She has dedicated the past ten years of her life studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.

One of Brené’s key messages is to embrace the imperfect.

She believes that we deepen our own humanity and connectedness to one another if we are aware of the impact of shame, and learn to empathize with others.

She became an inspiration to millions of people around the world because of her research.

Read on for 51 reminders to be your bold, authentic badass self.

1. 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 minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.

2. Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.

3. Everyone wants to know why customer service has gone to hell in a handbasket. I want to know why customer behavior has gone to hell in a handbasket.

4. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.

5. Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.

6. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

7. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.

8. DIG deep–get deliberate, inspired, and going.

10. Talk about your failures without apologizing.

11. It’s not about ‘what can I accomplish?’ but ‘what do I want to accomplish?’ Paradigm shift.

12. Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

13. To me, a leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.

14. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.

15. It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.

16. Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?

17. What we know matters but who we are matters more.

18. If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.

19. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.

20. Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

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

22. Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.

23. Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.

24. If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!

25. Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.

26. Even to me the issue of “stay small, sweet, quiet, and modest” sounds like an outdated problem, but the truth is that women still run into those demands whenever we find and use our voices

27. 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

28. If you can’t ask for help without self-judgment, you cannot offer help without judging others.

29. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. And I will choose how the story ends.

30. I believe that what we regret most are our failures of courage, whether it’s the courage to be kinder, to show up, to say how we feel, to set boundaries, to be good to ourselves. For that reason, regret can be the birthplace of empathy.

31. Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’

32. 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.

33. We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.

34. I thought faith would say, ‘I’ll take away the pain and discomfort,’ but what it ended up saying was, ‘I’ll sit with you in it.’

35. Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

36. Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.

37. There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”

38. We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.

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

40. The magic is in the mess.

41. 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.”

42. Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we are all in this together.

43. 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.’

44. Shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling.

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

46. Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.

47. Shame loves perfectionist- its so easy to keep us quiet.

48. You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.

49. Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.

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

51. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.