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The Gifts of Imperfection:  Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

By Brene Brown

Do you often feel hurt or upset on the inside but hide that behind a mask of beauty that tells the world “I’m doing just fine?”

Do you have voices in the back of our head that tell you that you’re not good enough?  That the things that failed in your life, previous relationships, work events, etc are your all your fault?

Do you love the TV show “Veronica Mars” because there was a strength, conviction, and an attitude in the character of Veronica that you could only hope to have?  (No?  Maybe that was just me.)

Do you question your worth or value in this thing called life? Do you work hard to be perfect at school?  at work?  in your marriage?  with your friends?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions or to all of them, I highly suggest this book. If you haven’t heard of Brene Brown before, I highly suggest you watch the TED talk below.  Her work comes from her study of shame.

One of my favorite things that Brene Brown shares in the book is this fact:

Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it—it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy.

Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (Kindle Locations 279-280). Hazelden Publishing. Kindle Edition.

I have taken this fact very seriously and in the past year I have started to open up to a very select group of women and men in my life the “shameful” thoughts that I sometimes think.  In some ways, these shameful thoughts are “easy” to share because I’m not being mean to other people.  My most shameful thoughts are the ones I think about myself.  Things such as: “If you can’t type someone’s information correctly on a registration form, how can you think that you’ll do the rest of your job adequately, let alone very well?” I give my coworkers far more grace than I give myself.  I would never think that of them.  But I’ve thought it to myself.

Wonderful people in my life, Chante, Karla, Sarah, Arisa, Matthew, Alex, and Jeremy (to name a few), remind me that I need to give myself the grace and love that Brene Brown teaches in this book.  What the book teaches sounds like a cliche if I type it this way:  “No one can be a more perfect version of you than you; AND, that YOU is pretty darn amazing!”  However, when you read the book, it doesn’t ring like a cliche.  It rings true.  It rings like something for which to strive and for which to look internally and find it is already there.

This book is similar to “The Willpower Instinct” in that after each chapter there are questions to ponder, exercises to complete, or challenges to take to help you understand yourself better or learn to make new and hopefully healthier decisions in your life.

If you’re looking for inspiration or ideas for how to know and care for yourself better, I highly recommend this book.

If you’re not up for reading, then I highly suggest that you find some people in your life that you can be honest with about those things that you feel shame.