In life, there are some of us who wake up every day in a society where the general public wants and expects people to be someone other than who they are. Having to step into the world feeling pressured to pretend, emulate and impress, can lead to feeling scared, shame, and unworthy. I personally know how this feels. In Dr. Brené Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection”, she shares the gifts to overcoming those insecurities. She takes her readers on a spiritual expedition to making meaningful change and elaborately explains what it takes to live a wholehearted life by sharing her own personal battles with identity.
I had never heard or read about living a wholehearted life prior to reading this book. What does it mean? Well that is up to you because, it is an idea that is subjective to each of us. For me, wholehearted living means to live each day with sincere intentions and purpose while committing to being unapologetically yourself. I, for one, am actively working towards that every day and have been for years.
Wholehearted living might be an easy concept to understand at first, but it takes time to fully implement it into daily life. In my personal experience, before the work towards wholeheartedness could begin, I needed to acknowledge and accept my flaws. The ten guideposts Dr. Brown reveals in her book helped me navigate through a series of complex feelings and emotions. Whether it be guilt, shame, doubt, or helplessness; (trust me when I say, I have felt them all), she found a way to dissect each of those feelings by using her own life experiences, which made the lessons she shared easier for me to digest and relate to.
The gifts that Dr. Brené Brown shares to living a wholehearted life are compassion, courage, and connection. She believes wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. One specific quote from her book encapsulates her idea perfectly: “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.” The author shares this message as she reflects back on her own life before her work on wholeheartedness. This showed me how much wholehearted living can be subjective to the reader and their unique journey.
With that said, as I read on, I found that Dr. Brown had a consistent tendency to link her past in order to make valuable connections between the two. As a reader, I discovered that her story telling resonated. In my opinion, that is what makes for a good read! I need to see that the author has a personal connection to the message they are trying to convey.
What strikes you
The best guidepost for me, was Cultivating Authenticity . I have come to understand that humans might not be born with authenticity. It is something people build overtime as they become their true selves. For some, it may be easy to claim to be authentic and so called “real”, but are they really?
Throughout the past few years, I have been conscientious of my own authenticity. I am sure that I am not alone when I talk about struggling with the following: being confident in my own skin, standing by my beliefs, owning my mistakes, and most importantly, accepting who I am. That is what shapes authenticity for me, it takes time. Just as Dr. Brown states in the final paragraph, I too have made being authentic a priority in my life. Doing so has allowed me to trust in my decisions and not feel any shame for the unique path that I walk.
I believe that you too can find something that strikes you! It is my belief that this book is not targeted at a specific audience. Regardless of your age, gender or lifestyle, Dr. Brown’s guideposts are meant to connect with the person you are today and help empower who you can become tomorrow.
I received this book at a great time in my life. I don’t know about you, but for me, I need to be in a space to be able to connect with a book in order to truly embrace the key messaging. The Gifts of Imperfection gave me great perspective when it came to certain areas of my current life, like embarking in a new career; and tools that will help me in areas I am thinking about for my future, parenthood in particular.
In Dr. Brown’s final thoughts, she says that this isn’t meant to be a self-help book. I disagree. Despite the fact that this book is found in the “Self-help” aisle in my local bookstore, I categorize it as a self-help because of the it’s purpose. From my perspective, the core content of this book seems to be directed towards self-reflection and self-transformation. The common denominator thus far, is the emphasis on “self”. My belief is that Dr. Brown has intended to revolutionize the way we see ourselves, as well as providing her audience with valuable tools to enrich and enhance new lifestyles.
Dr. Brené Brown has written several books around similar topics. She is a researcher with credible data to support her deductions on shame, authenticity and worthiness. I personally enjoy her writing style as it represents a narrative point of view. In each chapter she uses her real life story to convey a great lesson. The author has a way of making the book feel personal. It feels as though she has aimed her message in my direction, which in result has impacted my personal growth in a meaningful way. Upon closing the book, I came to the realization that, I am enough.
You might be wondering if this book is for you. If something I said in this blog resonated with you, then absolutely yes! Like myself, you might need to be in a particular space in your life to fully grasp the lessons in this book. It’s ok to buy a book, read it, and not really understand or relate to it right way. Just remember to put it down and simply try again later. I promise that Dr. Brené Brown’s gifts will be the best present you will ever receive.
Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts. If you’ve read any other piece of work from Brené Brown, share your favorites down below!
Brené, Brown. Ph.D., L.M.S.W. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Hazelden Publishing