“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
Brené Brown, who writes about topics such as compassion, empathy, worthiness and feelings, is not my normal type of author. The Gifts Of Imperfection is not the normal type of book that I read. The genre communicated by the title suggest it to be a bit too sappy and, well, feminine for me.
It’s a testament to how great a writer/researcher Brené is that I loved this book.
I expected The Gifts Of Imperfection to be about and for women who felt unattractive, not close-enough-looking to the models on magazine covers and catwalks to feel better about themselves and to start a movement of empowering each other. While some of that is in the book, it’s done in a masterful way that’s for men and women alike, and is research-based, not feelings-based.
Though Brown is a researcher by trade, I would not describe The Gifts Of Imperfection as clinical or textbook-like in any way. I only point out that Brené is a researcher because she states this fact so often herself. She could have said that she’s a professional author (which she is) and her work in this book is more than credible enough to prove it.
The Gifts Of Imperfection deal with worthiness: Why we sometimes feel we’re not worthy, the shame that precedes this feeling, and all the whys and whats around both.
Gifts is not that different from Tim Grover’s Relentless or Robert Greene’s The Laws Of Human Nature in that the author espouses the reader fully embracing who we are, flaws and all, in order to both give our best and receive our best to and from the world. Each author does so, however, on his or her own way.
While Grover says emotions make you weak — and, for the purposes of his subjects, he’s right — and Greene says to recognize and control your emotions — again, right for the cause he’s writing for — Brené says to embrace and fully feel your emotions, positive and not-so-positive, while examining where they’re coming from.
Brené does her work from a qualitative research point of view, removing her own opinions from the equation and sharing what she learned from interviewing many others to form this work (though she does share many of her own personal experiences, they are shared as a reflection of the research findings, not the basis of the message).
I recommend this book to everyone.
You Should Read The Gifts Of Imperfection IF: You are a human who experiences a range of feelings and would like researched insight on where those feelings come from, and what you can do to feel generally more worthy as who you are.