Brene´Brown did it again! She opened my eyes and mind to some new ways of being. Her research into vulnerability, shame and enoughness continue to impress me. Her long title, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are: Your Guide to a WholeHearted Life sums up her thesis. She gives us a formula for living fully with our heads and hearts.
Although I have lived, researched, and written about self-love and connection, Brown’s ideas have deepened my understanding. She emphasizes and re-emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance and caring connection. In caring connections we can be vulnerable and tell our stories of struggle.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Brown said, “You share with people who have earned the right to hear your story.” Too often we choose the wrong people, over share or don’t reach out at all. Brown advises us to guard against telling our vulnerability stories to those who tend to express pity, judgement, disappointment in us, panic in hearing our imperfections, or will one-up our story with their own. We are fortunate if we have one or two safe listeners. Please, find them! Cherish them!
I so wish I had Brene´ Brown’s words whispering in my ears when I was younger. There were times when I had anger-management issues. Yes, I screamed at my children as a result of loathing myself. Fortunately, I committed myself to healing. The result of healing is what Brown calls Wholehearted Living. It is about seeing ourselves as lovable and worthy of belonging. Brene’ Brown’s books remind me of the truth of our innate lovability, worthiness, and resilience.
Basic Concepts of The Gifts of Imperfection
Brown lists ten guideposts or proposals for WholeHearted Living. These action items encourage us to:
1. Be authentic
2. Give ourselves self-compassion
3. Build our resilience
4. Feel grateful and notice its connection to joy
5. Develop our intuition and trust
6. Express our creativity
7. Play and rest
8. Make time for calm and stillness
9. Seek meaningful work
10. Laugh, sing and dance
Brene´ Brown’s Words
- Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest things that we will ever do.
- Once you see a pattern, you can’t un-see it.
- We have to own our story and share it with someone who has earned the right to hear it, someone whom we can count on to respond with compassion.
- When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.
- Technology . . . has become a kind of imposter for connection . . . we’ve confused being communicative with feeling connected.
- If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.
- We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.
- If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about things that get in the way.
- If you trade in your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorder, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.
- The question is, does our . . . . . (eating, drinking, spending, gambling, saving the world, incessant gossiping, perfectionism, sixty-hour workweek) get in the way of our authenticity?
- Perfection is not the same as striving to be your best.
- We’re raising children who have little tolerance for disappointment and have a strong sense of entitlement.
- Comparison is the thief of happiness.
- I share this quote by theologian Howard Thurman . . . “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
If you decide to read Brene´Brown’s Gifts of Imperfection please share your thoughts and responses here with us. OK?
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Patricia Morgan MA CCC
Helping her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience.
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