The Gifts of Imperfection

Brene Brown’s 2010 book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Your Guide to A Wholehearted Life, seems thematic as I’ve taken a month’s break from the blog. Oddly enough, part of the delay was a bout of perfectionism over a book review that I’m not posting (at least not yet).

Perfectionism is just one of several maladaptive responses to vulnerability that Brown discusses. The chapters of this modest book also invite us to let go of (among other things):

  • numbing
  • fear of scarcity
  • the need for certainty
  • comparison and judgment
  • exhaustion & busy-ness

As usual, the tasks are more easily pointed out than accomplished! But I found this book helpful in developing greater self-awareness around these issues. An academic herself, Brown incisively identifies many ways that our own responses to the culture around us make our lives more emotionally difficult than need be.

Incidentally, I’m putting the wisdom from this short book to practice in several ways, not least by recruiting a co-author for a scholarly article that I agreed to write this summer.

I won’t end with a quote, because it would be ironic to look for a “perfect quote” from this book. That said, I’ll end with the chapter title that I reflect on most frequently: “Guidepost #7, Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth.”