Book Review- The Gifts of Imperfection

Are you looking for real, yet difficult to follow, advice on how to start looking at the most shameful, divested, and hurt experiences in your life in a different way? This is the book or let me say, this is the author. This is my second book for Brené Brown and she did not stop amazing me with her creative storytelling style. Even when she discusses something that is so obvious, she engages you with her self-talk in a very interesting manner.

7015403In this book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brené provided a concise advice about living a wholehearted life.

How much of these you can actually relate to:

“People may call what happens at midlife “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling—a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are. Midlife is certainly one of the great unraveling journeys, but there are others that happen to us over the course of our lives: marriage- divorce- becoming a parent- recovery- moving- an empty nest- retiring- experiencing loss or trauma- working in a soul-sucking job! The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button”.

Well, all of us have these movements when we think, if not believe, that this is the worst part of our lives. In her search for wholehearted life, Brené introduced 11 guideposts that can help us to own our story when these days come.

My personal strategy for handling these days was to DYI (Do It Yourself) and try to figure out things by myself, but in this book, Brené illustrated how facing these challenges should start by TALKING about them. “If we want to live and love with our whole hearts, and if we want to engage with the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way—especially shame, fear, and vulnerability”.

What does shame resilience mean?

Shame resilience is “the ability to recognize shame, to move through it constructively while maintaining worthiness and authenticity, and to ultimately develop more courage, compassion, and connection as a result of our experience”. The first step to develop this shame resilience is to talk about shame; the more we keep it as a secret, the more we have it.

What does wholehearted life mean?

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating 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. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging”.

Wholehearted living guideposts

  1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
  2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
  5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Final takeaways

  • “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”.
  • “Practicing courage, compassion, and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate worthiness”.
  • “It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned that playing down the exciting stuff doesn’t take the pain away when it doesn’t happen. It does, however, minimize the joy when it does happen. It also creates a lot of isolation. Once you’ve diminished the importance of something, your friends are not likely to call and say: I’m sorry that didn’t work out. I know you were excited about it”.
  • “if we really want to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior”.
  • “If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging”.
  • “One of the biggest 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”.
  • “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” So many of us run around spackling all of the cracks, trying to make everything look just right. This line helps me remember the beauty of the cracks (and the messy house and the imperfect manuscript and the too-tight jeans). It reminds me that our imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together. Imperfectly, but together”.
  • “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions… there’s no such thing as selective emotional numbing. There is a full spectrum of human emotions and when we numb the dark, we numb the light”.

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