Thursday, March 31, 2016

32 Lessons from Gifts of Imperfection

In the Fall I had to order a few books online for class when I saw "Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown in the suggested reading section. The title spoke to me since, I am indeed a bit of a perfectionist. Ever since I started reading, I've been absolutely in awe of this book. I can easily read several chapters at a time and find myself pausing and rereading sections because they seem to be exactly what my thought process is or describe me to a T. 

A basic summary would be the book explores what makes some men and women live more "whole-hearted," authentic lives. According to Brene Brown, "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 be 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.I learned so many lessons from this book, and thought I would share a few of them with you all.

Lessons Learned from Gifts of Imperfection from Courtney's Little Things

1.   "Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do."

2.   "You are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are."

3.   Creating a Wholehearted life isn't about reaching a destination. It's a lifetime journey, it is about heading in the right direction.

4.   "Everyone wants to be brave."

5.   "Courage originally meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.' ...we've lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we're feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage."

6.   "...asking for what you need is one of the bravest things that you'll ever do."

7.   "...playing down the exciting stuff doesn't take the pain away when it doesn't happen. It does, however, minimize the joy when it does happen. It also creates a lot of isolation."

Lessons Learned from Gifts of Imperfection from Courtney's Little Things

9.   "Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. 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."

10.  "It's as simple and complicated as this: If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging."

11.  "...true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world..."

12.  "In a society that says, 'Put yourself last," self-love and self-acceptance are almost revolutionary."

13.  "Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable."

14.  "Authenticity is not something we have or don't have. It's a practice - a conscious choice of how we want to live."

15.  "The problem is that when we don't care at all what people think and we're immune to hurt, we're also ineffective at connecting. Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection."

Lessons Learned from Gifts of Imperfection from Courtney's Little Things

17.  "There's risk involved in putting your true self out in the world. But I believe there's even more risk in hiding yourself and your gifts from the world."

18.  "...being true to ourselves is the best  gift we can give the people we love."

19.  "The problem is that when we don't claim shame, it claims us. And one of the ways it sneaks into our lives is through perfectionism."

20.  "Healthy striving is self-focused - How can I improve? Perfectionism is other focused - What will they think?"

21.  "Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it's because we weren't perfect enough. So rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right."

22.  "Self-compassion has three elements: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness."

23.  "Common humanity recognizes that suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience."

Lessons Learned from Gifts of Imperfection from Courtney's Little Things

25.  "Hope is not an emotion; it's a way of thinking or a cognitive process."

26.  "Hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities."

27.  "...happiness and joy are different experiences...Happiness is tied to circumstances and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude."

28.  "...neither joy nor happiness is constant; no one feels happy all of the time or joyful all of the time. Both experiences come and go."

29.  "Joy and gratitude can be very vulnerable and intense experiences. We think to ourselves: I'm not going to allow myself to feel this joy because I know it won't last. Acknowledging how grateful I am is an invitation for disaster."

30.  "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."

31.  "Sharing our gifts and talents with the world  is the most powerful source of connection."

32.  "However afraid we are of change , the question that we must ultimately answer is this: What's the greater risk? Letting go of what people think or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?"

If you are a bit of a perfectionist like me, are wanting to live a more authentic, whole-hearted life, or found any of these lessons spoke to you, I'd definitely recommend picking up this book. This is just a sampling of all the wonderful lessons this book holds and I know you'll learn lots from it, too!

Have you ever read Gifts of Imperfection? Which one of these lessons speaks to you?