Book Reviews

Book Review: Gifts of Imperfection

Yesterday I finished reading The Gifts Of Imperfection by Brene Brown and I had a very sated sensation. This is the first uplifting book I have read in a long time that I feel I really gained some knowledge from. I noted several quotes and I think the best thing I can do for this review is to share them with you along with a brief reaction.

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we  are flawed and  therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

I have always considered shame to be a source of pain, but I had not made the connection to my feeling that I’m not worthy of  love and lack a sense of belonging

“It was a long year. I lovingly refer to it on my blog as the 2007 Breakdown Spiritual Awakening. It felt like a textbook breakdown to me, but Diana called it a spiritual awakening. I think we were both right. In fact, I’m starting to question if you can have one without the other.”

Later in the book I learned that the book was the result of 4 years of work maybe even more research following a nervous breakdown. Brown’s courage amazes me.

“Compassion is something we all want, but are we willing to look at why boundary-setting and saying no is a critical component of compassion?”

The perspective that it is compassionate to say no is not necessarily new to me but this was a good reminder.

“What Makes Up Resilience?

  1. They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills.
  2. They are more likely to seek help.
  3. They hold the belief that they can do something that will help them to manage their feelings and to cope.
  4. They have social support available to them.
  5. They are connected with others, such as family or friends.”

Resilience is important to me so I was curious what Brown would say makes up the components of it.

“The opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty.” Ann Lamott, Brene Brown goes on to say that she is inspired by the  books When The Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd and Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron. A quote by Paulo Coelho: “…intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.”

I am interested in the books recommended by Brown, especially Comfortable With Uncertainty by Chodron.

“Let me sum up what I’ve learned about creativity from the world of Whole-hearted living and loving:

  1. ‘I’m not very creative’ doesn’t work. There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.
  2. The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.
  3. If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing—it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.”

Lately creativity has taken up larger residence in my life. I think I want to take up scrapbooking.

“If we want to live a Wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play, and about letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth…The answers included sleep, working out, healthy food, cooking, time off, weekends away, going to church, being present with the kids, a sense of control over our money, meaningful work that doesn’t consume us, time to piddle, time with family and close friends, and time to just hang out. These were (and are) our ingredients for joy and meaning.”

Reading this part of the book has inspired me to make up my list of things needed for joy and meaning in my family’s life. In my family we all need a certain amount of couch time in order to be happy . 🙂

“I define calm as creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity. When I think about calm people, I think about people who can bring perspective to complicated situations and feel their feelings without reacting to heightened emotions like fear and anger.”

“…just thinking about meditating makes me anxious. When I try to meditate I feel like a total poser. I spend the entire time thinking about how I need to stop thinking…”

I like that Brown shares with us that she gets anxiety from meditating. I don’t get to hear that very often.

“My anxiety detox included more calm and more stillness, but it also included more exercise and less caffeine.”

“To be honest, I’m never more open and emotionally clutter-free than when I’m walking alone outside.”

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

This quote by Thurman that Brown included was something that I wanted to remember.

“We  hustle for our worthiness by slipping on the emotional and behavioral straightjacket of cool and posturing as the tragically hip and terminally ‘better than.’ Being ‘in control’ isn’t always about the desire to manipulate situations, but often it’s about the need to manage perception. We want to be able to control what other people think about us so that we can feel good enough.”

Speaking of hustling reminded me of Brown’s other book- Rising Strong. I enjoyed that book too.

“Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance. Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You’re going to confuse, piss off, and terrify lots of people—including yourself. One minute you’ll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends. You’ll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time.”

I love love love this quote. Particularly the part about revolution and resistance.

The Gifts Of Imperfection is a book that has really inspired me. It has inspired me to be more authentic. To find out what could make me more authentic and to go out and do it.Gifts-Book-292x300

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