The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Book review of The Gifts of Imperfecton

I am reading a book every week, and this is a book review of the book I chose to read first. I am glad I did.

Courage, compassion and connection are three things each of our lives could benefit from if we made them more of a priority.

Brené does a great job at describing these three C’s very clearly:

“Courage is to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” – Brené Brown

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.” – Brené Brown

Connection – “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help”. The truth is that we are both.”
– Brené Brown

This line of Brené’s has really stuck with me. “Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.” Today’s culture focuses so much on the heroic kind of courage and does not celebrate the ordinary courage nearly enough.

It’s so easy to avoid being our authentic selves, because we believe that this ordinary courage is not enough and we long for acceptance or recognition. Brené’s encouragement is to realize that “authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” I often wonder if we can recognize our authentic selves easily? Do we really want to know who this person we “think we’re supposed to be”, the one Brené suggests that we need to let go of?

I will take a moment and be transparent with you. A challenging part of understanding who I really am is when I need to sell my artwork. It’s so easy to take the time to do what I enjoy most, because the creativity is part of who I really am. But it’s not simple to allow this passion and long-time hobby of mine to turn into “a business”. Like most talents, art can become narcissistic pretty quickly. And this world needs fewer narcissists.

Another temptation in life is to not be grateful for what we currently have, especially in this age of instant gratification. I know I need to take more time to appreciate some of the smaller things in life, and I appreciate how Brené compares gratitude to faith – “It seems that gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works—it’s not alive.” 

Here are a few more quotes I appreciated on this topic:
“Happiness is tied to circumstance and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude.” – Brené Brown 

“Most of us have experienced being on the edge of joy only to be overcome by vulnerability and thrown into fear.” – Brené Brown

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson

This statement speaks volumes to me. “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” – Brené Brown

If you’re read my book or understand my story, you know that fear has been a big part of my life. After reading this book, I am challenged to practice gratitude and do more joy chasing. Happiness can come and go, but joy is hard to come by. And when it comes, let’s embrace it.

I will leave you with a few other highlights in this book review that speak to our creativity. Yet another thing I highlighted in my Dark Sunsets book. You can probably now understand why I give Brené’s book a 5-star review, and will be reading more of her work for sure. I am a fan.

“It’s so easy to take our eyes off our path to check out what others are doing and if they’re ahead or behind us. Creativity, which is the expression of our originality, helps us stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared. And, without comparison, concepts like ahead or behind or best or worst lose their meaning.”  – Brené Brown

“Comparison is the thief of happiness.” – Laura Williams

“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.” – Brené Brown

“The only unique contribution we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.” – Brené Brown

“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

Brené’s website – BRENÉBROWN.COM
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