The Gifts of Imperfection – The sub-title says it all!

Sub-title: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.

There. You now know everything you need to know about this book – and about life. You’re welcome!

Actually…

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown is the perfect book. (Psst #1: Was that a pun?) (Psst #2: I may have said the same about her most famous book, too!)

Brown is a petite powerhouse of light, love, and courage. Her TED Talks are among my favorites and … and… there’s just something about her! Don’t ask me what it is because I can’t corral it <<< a nod to her Texas roots. Ha! 

This book introduces us to the “Ten Guideposts on the power of Wholehearted Living” and though I don’t normally do this, I’m going to share the basics and trust you will get the book (if you don’t have it already!) and learn more about them.

The guideposts are about cultivating the following…

  1. Authenticity
  2. Self-Compassion
  3. A Resilient Spirit
  4. Gratitude and Joy
  5. Intuition and Trusting Faith
  6. Creativity
  7. Play and Rest
  8. Calm and Stillness
  9. Meaningful Work
  10. Laughter, Song, and Dance

Now, you tell me this book isn’t perfect! Everything we need is here!

The neat (great!) thing about Brown is that she’s not making stuff up as she goes or relying on her own feelings. This woman is a research warrior! I mean, she’s a research professor! C’mon, she knows her stuff!

And yeah, getting a nod from the great and powerful Oprah (Look here!) isn’t the worst thing that could happen to an author. Am I right?

Here is one of her best videos about shame… a word I detest on so many levels:

Brené Brown is… simply… one of the best “self-help” authors (and speakers) out there!

This book is, after all, about shame. Even though it doesn’t SAY it outright… it’s what leads us to believe we can’t attain that list above: Authenticity, Self-Compassion, A Resilient Spirit, Gratitude and Joy, Intuition and Trusting Faith, Creativity, Play and Rest, Calm and Stillness, Meaningful Work, Laughter, Song, and Dance. 

Shame says we are not good enough. And being “not good enough” leads to imperfection.

Brown says we live in a “blame culture” and BOY OH BOY, DO WE! Blame makes shame feel… OH, so much better!

“It’s not me, it’s you!”

“Yeah, I did it but what about ______?” <<< usually filled in with words about someone else’s (perceived) worse deeds.

I have more than a passing acquaintance with blame. I remember the exact moment I learned that it was futile to blame. I was working at the college and something happened and I said that so-and-so did it… which, by the way, was totally true. The Director said something that has stuck with me ever since:

DON’T FIX THE BLAME, FIX THE PROBLEM.

I swear, it about blew my head off!!

It’s the answer to everything blame-worthy. Seriously.

In *most* cases, it matters not who did what, but what shall we do to fix it? Am I right? (I know I’m right! But actually, it was Susan who was right!)

That was my gift from Susan… in the midst of my imperfections, I got a gift that has stayed with me for 30 years.

Oh yes, our imperfections. As Brown promises – on the front of the book, no less – in Imperfection, we find gifts. What are they? Well, I’m not going to tell you (exactly) what they are… but what I’ll say is to take our list above and consider the opposite of each. It is *there* where the gifts live!

Or, of course, you could buy the book.

You should buy the book!

I will end with a quote that kinda pulls it all together:

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” 

― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

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