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Review: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection
Brené Brown
Hazelden Publishing
Published August 27, 2010

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About The Gifts of Imperfection

A motivational and inspiring guide to wholehearted living, rather than just the average self-help book, with this groundbreaking work Brené Brown, Ph.D., bolsters the self-esteem and personal development process through her characteristic heartfelt, honest storytelling. With original research and plenty of encouragement, she explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an “imperfect” life and embracing living authentically. Brown’s “ten guideposts” are benchmarks for authenticity that can help anyone establish a practice for a life of honest beauty—a perfectly imperfect life.

Now more than ever, we all need to cultivate feelings of self-worth, as well as acceptance and love for ourselves. In a world where insults, criticisms, and fears are spread too generously alongside messages of unrealistic beauty, attainment, and expectation, we look for ways to “dig deep” and find truth and gratitude in our lives. A new way forward means we can’t hold on too tightly to our own self-defeating thoughts or the displaced pain in our world. Instead, we can embrace the imperfection.

When our embarrassments and fears lie, we often listen to them anyway. They thwart our gratitude, acceptance, and compassion—our goodness. They insist, “I am not worthy.” But we are worthy—of self-discovery, personal growth, and boundless love. With Brené Brown’s game-changing New York Times bestseller The Gifts of Imperfection—which has sold more than 2 million copies in more than 30 different languages, and Forbes recently named one of the “Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook On Life”—we find courage to overcome paralyzing fear and self-consciousness, strengthening our connection to the world.

My Review

Okay, so I listened to DARING GREATLY multiple times because it was too good to read just once. I wanted to hear it all from the beginning a second time (and a third time) once I kind of had the whole in my head already. And I’m super glad I did that.

I will do that same thing with GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION, but I’m writing the review between my first and second times reading it. (Mostly because I’ve been swamped and am way behind where I want to be with my reading and review calendar. Also because the publication dates on books keep getting pushed back, leaving me with weird, unexpected gaps in my calendar. It’s stressful, y’all!)

At any rate. So. This book. First, I want to say that I had this playing on my Audible account while wrapping Christmas gifts, and my daughter listened to it with me briefly. That led to some really great conversations. I hope we can listen to more of the book together at some point.

So I loved that DARING GREATLY gave this deep dive into what vulnerability is and why it’s so critical to be able to experience it in a healthy way in order to have healthy relationships and connections in your life. GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION is similar, but it focuses a lot more on perfectionism. The book examines our tendencies to overcommit or fill our lives to the seams with events and stuff and busyness.

And HOW not to do that. WHY not to do that.

I need this book in my life. Because I so do that. Everything must have a purpose, be structured, have some sort of benefit or gain. I forget sometimes that there is real value in just wasting time on something you love for no other reason than you love it. For me the biggest black hole of this kind of unstructured time is social. I end up feeling guilty later if it took me a long time to get something done. This is especially true if in addition to working on the tasks, I was chitchatting with someone.

I feel like I’m still learning to rewire myself to consider that time valuable and productive. And to try to listen to my heart or my body or my spirit and respond when I really genuinely need that rest time or unstructured, unproductive time.

At any rate, this book was a pretty key read for me in this season of my life. I’m super glad that I read it. I noticed that Brown has a new book out recently called ATLAS OF THE HEART. So, that one is now on my reading list!

If you’re looking for a book that kind of helps you quantify why being super busy feels like it’s not sustainable or not working, or you just feel like it’s time to rebalance priorities in your life and make more time for what matters, this is a GREAT book to read. I highly recommend it.

Content Notes on The Gifts of Imperfection

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Relates stories and data based on a broad range of research.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Some brief mentions of sex from the perspective of the way that asking for sex or participating in it means experiencing vulnerability. .

Spiritual Content
Mentions going to church.

Violent Content
Vague mentions of abuse situations.

Drug Content
Mentions of drinking alcohol and smoking as a poor coping strategy for vulnerability. She also discusses the connection between shame and addiction.

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