Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Gifts Of Imperfection

I heard Brene Brown speak for the first time last night on a local public television fund-raising program. She spoke about cultivating a "Wholehearted" lifestyle and receiving the gifts of imperfection. I was fascinated by her presentation so I purchased The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are this morning and I read it today.
Dr. Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.
Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.  It means developing the courage, compassion, and connection to think;  No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It's going to bed at night thinking, 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.  

Dr. Brown presents the following ten guideposts in this book;
  1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
  2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a Resilient spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
  5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and "Supposed To"
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and "Always in Control"
How I Tried To Be Perfect But Goofed Up Instead
I play the piano at our church on Wednesday and Sunday evenings.  I took piano lessons as a child but gave up my musical interests as I grew older.  A couple of weeks ago, I accidently started the introduction to a song on the wrong notes. I was so messed up that I had to just stop and start over.  This was very unusual for me because I try to live up to the the perfect standards that I set for myself.  I was really beating myself up for making such a big goof.  When I sat down beside a family member he whispered to me, "What was up with that ~ You picked the song, didn't you?" A feeling of shame came over me and I felt like I was a total failure. 
This book taught me new ways to deal with shame, guilt and trying to be perfect. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are offers many practical ways to live the wholehearted life.  I highly recommend the book. I read it on my Kindle

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.


Maureen Wielansky said...

I love this post! I just got off the phone with a friend and I had said that I overachieve at imperfection. Yet, I haven't heard of this book so I am going to download it right now.

Thank you for your thorough review, you sold me!

Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA said...

My imperfections are so great, they are almost perfect by themselves !

Lynn Brown said...

Thank you Janette for sharing a wonderful book and enjoyed your personal review. My mom was such a perfectionist it was frustrating growing up. But now I have those tendancies and appreciate you sharing key advice of letting go and being me. I really enjoy your blog.

Hajra said...

I kind of like my imperfections too! Pretty much used to them now!

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