Reading Recommendation - The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

By Ines Quandel

Who wrote it

Brene Brown, Ph. D., L.M.S.W. is a research professor (she researches shame, empathy, and vulnerability), author, blogger, TED Talk speaker and all around amazing advisor on living better. The Gifts of Imperfection is one of five #1 New York Times best sellers that she has written.

What it’s about

“The Wholehearted journey is not the path of least resistance. It’s a path of consciousness and choice. … To practice courage, compassion, and connection is to look at life and the people around us, and say, “I’m all in.”” pg 21

The key phrase of the book is ‘wholehearted living’. In her research about shame and how we feel it and deal with it, Brene Brown stumbled across a lifestyle that she refers to as wholehearted living. A way to embrace our life and love ourselves as we are. It makes people more resilient to shame, allows us to connect with our loved ones more fully, and enjoy live instead of just trying to survive it. The Gifts of Imperfection includes 10 guideposts to set us on the road of wholehearted living. These guideposts talk about how to live with courage, compassion and connection; the power of love and belonging and the concept of being enough; striving for authenticity, gratitude, and joy; the importance of following our intuition and having faith; our need for not just rest, but also play, laughter, song and dance; and about finding purpose and meaning in our work.

Why you should read it

Have you ever lost your temper with someone, after they did something you explicitly asked them not to? Thinking through that experience, what led up to that point? Was this the first time the person didn’t do as asked or the fifth? If it was the fifth, what were the repercussions of not listening the first four times? Could the root cause have been that you did not set any boundaries? Or that you failed to hold the person accountable when they crossed the boundaries that you did set? To me this was the most impactful lesson in The Gifts of Imperfection, at this time.

Having discussed the book at Book Club, I’ve been told that my friends have learned different lessons each time they read the book again. Lessons on how to recognize moments of shame and how to cope with those moments, on what it means to be authentic and to belong as your authentic self, or the true definition of courage that values standing up for yourself over the discomfort of blending in.

Why should you read The Gifts of Imperfection? Because it may hold some great lessons for you as well.

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