Brene Brown on Grief: The Power of Vulnerability

Grief is a complex and often overwhelming emotion, and it’s something we all experience at some point in our lives. Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability and human connection has shed light on how we can better understand and cope with grief. In this article, we’ll explore the insights of Brene Brown on grief and how they can guide us through the grieving process.

Who is Brene Brown?

Before we dive into her thoughts on grief, let’s get to know Brene Brown a bit better.   Dr. Brene Brown is a renowned researcher, author, and speaker whose work has profoundly influenced the realms of psychology, personal development, and self-help. Born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1965, she embarked on a remarkable journey to become a leading authority on vulnerability, courage, and human connection.    Her acclaimed TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” catapulted her to global recognition, while her bestselling books have bridged academic insights with practical, relatable wisdom. Her work is deeply rooted in understanding human emotions and how they shape our lives. What sets Dr. Brown apart is her ability to convey complex psychological concepts in an accessible, relatable, and often humorous manner. Her warm and down-to-earth demeanor makes her work not only enlightening but also deeply human. She encourages individuals to embrace their imperfections, acknowledge their vulnerabilities, and foster meaningful connections with others.

Defining Grief

Grief isn’t just about losing a loved one. It can manifest in various forms, including the loss of a job, a relationship, or even a dream. Brene Brown reminds us that grief is a natural response to loss and change, and it’s essential to acknowledge it rather than suppress it.

The Myth of Numbing

  One of the pivotal lessons that Brene Brown imparts is the debunking of what she terms “The Myth of Numbing” in the context of grief. Often, when faced with overwhelming sorrow, individuals may resort to various forms of numbing their emotions, whether through avoidance, substance use, or denial.    Dr. Brown passionately advocates against this common coping mechanism. She emphasizes that numbing does not offer genuine relief; rather, it prolongs the suffering by preventing the natural healing process. Instead, she encourages a brave and radical approach—embracing our grief head-on. By allowing ourselves to feel the depth of our emotions, even when they are painful, we open the door to genuine healing and transformation.

Embracing Vulnerability

To navigate grief, we must embrace vulnerability. Brene Brown’s research shows that vulnerability is the birthplace of emotions, including grief. It’s okay to be open and honest about our feelings, even when they are painful.

Permission to Grieve

Giving ourselves permission to grieve is a vital step in the healing process. Brene Brown emphasizes that we shouldn’t judge our grief or compare it to others’. Each person’s journey is unique, and we must honor our own emotions.

Understanding the Grief Armor

When it comes to understanding grief, Brene Brown introduces a concept that really hits home – the “Grief Armor.” Think of it as the emotional shield we instinctively put on when we’re grappling with the heart-wrenching pain of loss. It’s like we believe this armor will protect us from more hurt.   But here’s the kicker: Dr. Brown tells us that, while it may give temporary relief, it actually holds us back from true healing. It’s like wearing a suit of emotional armor that makes us feel invulnerable, but it only delays the healing process. So, she gently nudges us to recognize when we’re putting on this armor, usually seen as trying to be strong or suppressing our feelings. Instead, she encourages us to embrace vulnerability. By allowing ourselves to authentically experience grief, we give ourselves a chance to heal and grow in the most genuine way.

Cultivating Empathy

Empathy is a powerful tool for both grievers and those supporting them. Brene Brown’s work highlights the importance of empathy in connecting with others who are also grieving.   She highlights the extraordinary power of empathy during those dark times. Grief can be incredibly isolating, but knowing that someone genuinely comprehends and shares your emotional journey can bring immeasurable comfort. Brown’s teachings remind us that empathy isn’t just about understanding; it’s about extending a hand with heartfelt compassion.    Whether it’s offering myself some kindness when I’m grieving or being there for others in their sorrow, her guidance reminds me that empathetic connections are like lifelines, guiding us through the stormiest moments, and providing solace and strength when we need them most.

The Power of Connection

Grief can make us feel isolated, but Brene Brown reminds us that true connection with others is essential. Sharing our stories and emotions can help us heal and find solace.

Self-Compassion and Grief

We often judge ourselves harshly during times of grief. Brene Brown encourages self-compassion, reminding us that we are doing the best we can in challenging circumstances.

Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude can be a healing force during grief. Brene Brown suggests finding moments of joy and gratitude amidst the sorrow, helping to balance our emotions.

Resilience and Grief

Building resilience is a crucial aspect of the grieving process. Brene Brown’s insights show us that by embracing vulnerability and seeking support, we can become more resilient in the face of loss.

Support Systems that Work

Navigating grief is challenging, but having the right support system can make all the difference. Brene Brown’s research offers guidance on creating and maintaining meaningful support networks.

Moving Forward: Finding Meaning

As we begin to take steps forward amidst the weight of grief, Brene Brown’s teachings illuminate a crucial aspect: the journey towards finding meaning. She reminds us that grief is not just an ending, but also a potential beginning. Through vulnerability and connection, we uncover lessons, strengths, and even newfound purposes that emerge from the pain.    Brown’s insights invite us to explore the transformative power of grief, to acknowledge that our capacity to love and connect is amplified through our experiences of loss. In this way, we don’t just move on from grief; we move forward, carrying the wisdom and resilience gained from our journey towards healing and meaning.


The wisdom of Brene Brown on grief serves as a compass through the tumultuous seas of loss. Her teachings remind us that vulnerability, empathy, and self-compassion are not just theoretical concepts but powerful lifeboats to navigate the journey of grief. Through her guidance, we’ve learned that numbing our emotions or donning the armor of stoicism only prolongs our suffering.    Instead, she encourages us to embrace our grief with open hearts, to seek empathetic connections, and to treat ourselves with the same kindness we offer others. In this shared vulnerability, we discover the strength to heal, transform, and find meaning amid the pain. Brene Brown’s insights illuminate the path toward a more authentic and resilient way of grieving, one where we emerge not diminished by loss but enriched by our capacity to love and connect.  


  1. How can I practice vulnerability during grief? Vulnerability during grief means allowing yourself to feel and express your emotions without judgment or suppression. Share your thoughts and feelings with trusted friends or a therapist.
  1. Is it normal to feel guilty during grief? Yes, feeling guilt is a common part of the grieving process. Brene Brown’s work encourages self-compassion and understanding that these feelings are normal.
  1. Can gratitude really help with grief? Gratitude can help balance your emotions during grief by focusing on moments of joy and appreciation. It doesn’t erase grief, but it can provide some relief.
  1. How do I find a support system that works for me? Building a support system starts with identifying people who are empathetic and understanding. Seek out grief support groups or connect with a therapist for professional guidance.
  1. How can I find meaning and growth in my grief journey?  Finding meaning in grief often involves seeking out lessons or positive changes that can result from the experience. It’s a personal journey, and Brene Brown’s work suggests that vulnerability and connection are key.


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