Adventures in Books… The Gifts of Imperfection

“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 The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, Ph.D., a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. 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.'”

I’ve had this book for a while after seeing it on Shauna’s Blog The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl.

I read it last week and really enjoyed it. I think self-help books like these need to be read when you need them most. I bought this last year and tried to read it but it wasn’t the right time for me. I wasn’t ready to talk about shame and vulnerability. I liked the realness of this book. The science behind from a research perspective amazed me. The author’s personal insight into the areas she spoke about was real and motivating.

It made me feel like I wasn’t on my own. I need this reminder a lot at the moment as it is too easy to sink and make thought and feeling the reality.

The Gifts of Imperfection are Courage, Compassion and Connection. It took me a while to understand this, but once I understood where the author was coming from I got it.

They relate to authentic living and remembering that “imperfections are not inadequacies”.

The book also talked about the different between guilt and shame, which was eye-opening for me.

  • Guilt – I did something bad
  • Shame – I am bad

I think I often let guilt take me to shame without realising it. It is okay to feel guilty, it remind us to think before we take action. However shame is (stemming from guilt) takes the action to mean that is who you are and that is not helpful. I often do this with binge eating, as I let the guilt for doing it become shame as I feel everything is wrong with me.

I liked the part on Shame Resilience and this is something I am going to practice as part of my journal and hopefully work towards being able to talk to people about things.

  1. Name It
  2. Talk About It
  3. Own Your Story
  4. Tell Your Story

The book is split into guideposts, each working through different aspects of Courage, Compassion and Connection. I liked that at the end of each guidepost the author went through how she use DIG deep:

  • Get Deliberate
  • Get Inspired
  • Get Going

I like this as someone whole likes to take action and solve problems. However it is important to work out what the problem is and that is where the book will be a big help. It approaches feelings and actions and thoughts in a way that lets you step back and think before taking action.

After reading the book I decided to listen to the TED Talk Brene did back in 2010. Hearing the author talk backed up the passion that was there in the book for the topic.

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