Ugh, you shouldn’t have pressed publish. Little Miss Perfectionist is sitting beside me as I hash out this new series of posts. You can’t help anyone. No one can relate, she whispers. I take a deep breath and remind myself that it is not my intention to teach, it is my intention to share. This is my story, not the answers to the world’s most complex questions.
Inhale and gather all of that doubt, exhale and release.
I am excited to share my review (more fan-girl rave) of Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. A beautiful title to a life-changing book.
What’s the theme?
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Dr. Brene Brown defines what she calls “whole-hearted living”. Through dedicated research and the compilation of unique stories, Brown sets out to find what makes some people more joyful than others. What she finds is her own
mid-life breakdown spiritual awakening.
Does it have a purpose?
Dr. Brown skillfully dissects her own experiences, adding to them the experiences of those she researches, to find the keys to creating a more joyful life. What she finds is loads of shame. When looking for what “gets in the way” of some people feeling more positive and acting with resilience, she finds shame in a variety of ways for a variety of people. Instead of finding the keys to being happy 24/7, Brown finds out that she must address shame – her own and those of her research party.
Who is it for?
This is a great read for those 18 and older. Being a wife and mother herself, Brown becomes a friend and ally for those who find themselves in similar stages in life. I found her words to be as comforting as I would a close aunt. Her shameless presence crosses the border between author and friend. Her themes might be too mature for those in their teenage years but would be awesome for parents who want to foster a more compassionate and loving atmosphere at home and in their parenting style. I would recommend this book to my sisters (who are wives and mothers) as well as my own parents.
Did the book affect you at all?
This book changed my perception of happiness. I learned that those who seem to really own their lives and be in the drivers seat – you know, the kind of people who smile in adversity and always see the glass half-full – aren’t some super-human species. They simply live courageously by owning their stories, forgiving their mistakes, exercising self-compassion, and not letting shame drive their decisions.
After reading The Gifts of Imperfection, I was able to identify my own shame triggers and instead of letting them run my circus, I was able to intercede with the skills that Brene Brown teaches in her book. Noticing my shame triggers and being courageous enough to stand up to them has made me more self-forgiving. Instead of letting my anxiety run the race, I can recognize it for what it is and write a new ending.
I highly recommend accompanying this book with Dr. Brown’s CourageWorks course titled “Self Compassion with Kristin Neff and Brene Brown” which is worth the cost. I will be writing a separate review of Kristin Neff’s autobiography on self-compassion but this class gave me some wonderful tools for my self-compassion toolbox. With more in-depth explanations and exercises to create more whole-hearted living, I found this course to be invaluable.
Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
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