Except that “The Gifts of Imperfection” really isn’t a self-help book. Sure, there are elements of “how to” (aka “Dig Deep”) in it, and the text will most certainly result in intense moments of self-reflection. But Dr. Brené Brown’s work is more, “Here’s what I know from my research, do with it what you will” and less “Do this and you will feel fantastic!” Mostly, because even she knows that approach is horse puckey.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Brown for the magazine I work for—and listening to her speak locally. I’m a total fangirl—and this is coming from someone who typically doesn’t buy into gratitude mantras and vision boards. I’m a roll with the punches, when life hands you lemons you break out the vodka kind of gal.
Here’s the thing—with a lot of books of this nature, I think readers are inclined to feel as if they need to change a million different things about their lives. This? I feel as if, rather than shifting my actions, I can just focus on shifting my thinking. Of course, Brown is big on gratitude—maybe I should dust off my old gratitude journal from my Oprah-worship days and stop snorting at the “Today I am thankful for …” posts on Facebook. But aside from that, the book was revelatory for me, in that I have rarely considered the strength of my courage or lack thereof when I need it, the importance of practicing compassion through establishing boundaries, and that even the most bullheaded of stalwarts crave connection. We all do.
The most important lesson for me though, was this: We are all worthy. Worthiness has no prerequisites. It’s a pretty powerful statement, especially when you count how many times a day you say, “It’ll be OK when I …/My boss will like me when I …/My parents will love me when I …/My kids will listen to me when I …./My husband won’t leave if I …” Count how many value statements you make, just the conscious ones. It’s scary how much stuff our worthiness is dependent on. Let that go, move forward.
This is not Brown’s most recent endeavour: That would be Daring Greatly. It’s on my TBR list. Amazing researcher, and bound to make you think.