You ever hear of a book that everyone raves about, you get a copy and you’re just like, “Meh”? That’s how it was with The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. I just didn’t get the hype. I picked it up because as a recovering perfectionist, I wanted to know how I could release that burden of wanting everything to be good and perfect and solid and flaw-free.
But it turns out that it wasn’t the book. It was me. I hadn’t lived enough. I hadn’t experienced enough to come to the book with the understanding that this is a journey.
First, though, we have to understand what perfectionism is and isn’t. As Brown explains:
Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame. It’s a shield. Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.
When I read this, it resonated with the fact that I have been acting to conform to other people’s expectations — go to this school, get this degree, wear these types of clothes. But it wasn’t until I read this book and really digested some of the chapters that I realized that all of that posturing was rooted in shame. I didn’t want to be ostracized. I wanted to “fit in.” I wanted people think I was worthy of their time and energy.
Brown’s book is perfect for a woman who is ready to stop giving so much of a damn what other people think and start living life for herself. Each of her 15 chapters is personal, relatable and full of anecdotes about what it truly looks like to drop that shield of perfectionism.
Three Biggest Takeaways:
- Brown discusses “wholehearted living,” which means “engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.” How many of us, for various reasons, have felt unworthy of not only the best life has the offer, but even the most basic? This book is about pushing past the ideas that we are somehow damaged and unworthy. This is where the healing begins.
- She also talks about trusting your gut and honing the skill of intuition, which we all have. But some of us are a bit more rusty than others, which is why we need to check in on ourselves every once in a while.
- My favorite chapter just might be the one on cultivating calm. We live in a society which prizes busyness over all else and truthfully, all that activity is really just a distraction from what’s really going on inside. If we fill our days with meetings and PTA bake sales and this and that, then we don’t to think about the gaping hole that’s inside of us. Brown urges us to do the work of creating moments of still and calm.
Where to Buy: Amazon, $10