Updated: Apr 8
Brene Brown is a social worker who quickly became famous and found many followers around the globe after a 2013 TED Talk called “The Power of Vulnerability”. I cannot speak to all of her work, for she is quite prolific, but this first speech is well worth a watch. It contains important messages, one being that we as human beings are “built for connection” to others. This is what makes the world turn; what makes us tick; what keeps us going when things are rough. We need friends, partners, and families (or “chosen” families) in our lives to help us survive, thrive, grow, laugh, and give and receive love. With COVID this has been more true than ever, whether we find connection by phone, online, or from our immediate circle.
There is another powerful quote she uses, one which is not actually hers but one she talked about in a speech she gave in 2016. It’s called “The Man in the Arena”, and was, amazingly enough, delivered by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910. It is most compelling for those who find themselves spending time worrying about what others think about them, or dealing with someone who is very critical of them – a boss, a parent, an ex. Take a look at Brene’s video and the quote itself.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”