The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown is a book that was recommended by the Needyhelper reader, Jackie O’Carroll, and what a great recommendation it was. I devoured every page and couldn’t wait for my next sitting. If, like me, you are on a mission of self-improvement then buy this book today.
Amongst her growing array of talents, Brené Brown has spent a significant number of years studying a concept she refers to as Wholeheartedness, which was borne out of a study of shame and fear. After interviewing countless everyday people, Brown discovered that you could practice resilience against shame and fear in order to change the way that we live our lives. She discovered that practising virtues such as compassion, courage and connection led to a wholehearted way of living.
Brown sticks the lens of the magnifying glass over imperfection and allows the bright rays of light to burn right through the pain and worry associated with it. We are all imperfect and the quicker we embrace this understanding the better. This book is about recognising that you are enough, and that you are worthy of love belonging and joy, both you and your imperfections.
Brown calls the human race ‘a meaning-making species’ and this is not the first-time that I have heard this said (I also heard this during my time at the Landmark Forum. It is a belief that strikes a chord with me and I agree with Brown’s sentiments, that for better or for worse, our minds are actually fine-tuned to do this.
Brown speaks from a common place. She tells you to first love yourself before you can love others, and she refers to the term ‘mid-life’ crisis as a unravelling; a time when you become desperate to live your life the way you want to, and not the way you are supposed to. Let go of who you are supposed to be and start embracing who you really are.
We are creatures of habit and a lot of us have some very bad habits. One way of changing the way that we act is to change our habits. This is done through time and repetition, and Brown acknowledges this as an important component of wholehearted living. Courage, compassion and connection only work when they are exercised every day. To help you form the right habits, Brown has designed the book to consist of a series of 10-guideposts. Each guidepost takes you through an important component of her research and they all have a familiar ending, known as DIG Deep.
The DIG Deep guidepost endings are an excellent way of changing habit. They consist of three short paragraphs: Get Deliberate, Get Inspired and Get Going. This is where the action takes place, and the good habits start rolling into town. The DIG Deep sections are simple, powerful and short enough to pack a punch without losing your attention. In fact, the whole book is very punchy; with short, sharp chapters as opposed to some of the lengthy dross you can find yourself falling asleep to.
I loved reading this book and felt like I had known Brown for many years. I guess that’s testament to the power of her ability to connect through her writing. She comes across as one of us, and that suits me down to the ground.
I advise anybody who wishes to live a wonderful life to purchase this book. I also advise you to check out her two TED talks and once again thank Jackie O’Carroll for sharing this material with me.
The Power of Vulnerability
Listening to Shame