The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
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In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, "What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?"
In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough," and to go to bed at night thinking, "Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging."
"This important book is about the lifelong journey from 'What will people think?' to 'I am enough.' Brown's unique ability to blend original research with honest storytelling makes reading The Gifts of Imperfection like having a long, uplifting conversation with a very wise friend who offers compassion, wisdom, and great advice."
—Harriet Lerner, New York Times best-selling author of The Dance of Anger and The Dance of Connection
"Brené Brown courageously tackles the dark emotions that get in the way of leading a fuller life; read this book and let some of that courage rub off on you."
—Daniel H. Pink, New York Times best-selling author of A Whole New Mind
"Courage, compassion, and connection: Through Brené's research, observations, and guidance, these three little words can open the door to amazing change in your life.'"
—Ali Edwards, author of Life Artist
surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing, and, in fact, fitting in gets in the way of belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are. Before I share my definitions with you, I want to point out three issues that I’m willing to call truths. Love and belonging will always be uncertain. Even
that others can be brave with theirs.”3 Get Going: I try to make authenticity my number one goal when I go into a situation where I’m feeling vulnerable. If authenticity is my goal and I keep it real, I never regret it. I might get my feelings hurt, but I rarely feel shame. When acceptance or approval becomes my goal, and it doesn’t work out, that can trigger shame for me: “I’m not good enough.” If the goal is authenticity and they don’t like me, I’m okay. If the goal is being liked and they
refusing to be defined by a single career. Examples include a longshoreman/documentary filmmaker, a management consultant/ cartoonist, a lawyer/chef, a rabbi/stand-up comic, a surgeon/playwright, an investment manager/rapper, and a therapist/violin maker. I wanted to share the idea of the slash effect with you because in the blogging, art, and writing world, I meet so many people who are afraid to claim their work. For example, I recently met a woman at a social media conference who is an
Then you have to make her feel better. The friend who responds with sympathy (I feel so sorry for you) rather than empathy (I get it, I feel with you, and I’ve been there). If you want to see a shame cyclone turn deadly, throw one of these at it: “Oh, you poor thing.” Or, the incredibly passive-aggressive southern version of sympathy: “Bless your heart.” The friend who needs you to be the pillar of worthiness and authenticity. She can’t help because she’s too disappointed in your imperfections.
older than my sisters (they’re twins). Before 2007, I was pretty vested in being the older, perfect (aka uptight, better than, and judgmental) sister. Ashley was amazing. She listened and responded with total compassion. She had the courage to tap into her own struggles with worthiness so that she could genuinely connect to what I was experiencing. She said wonderfully honest and empathic things like, “Oh, man. That’s so hard. I’ve done that dance. I hate that feeling!” That may not be what