Claire's Reviews > The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
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's review
May 25, 2012

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bookshelves: auto-biography, spirituality
Read on May 25, 2012 — I own a copy

This book is a culmination of the bulk of, surprise spiritual teacher, Brown's qualitative research into shame and what she calls wholehearted living. She outlines what her research found on what's part of living and loving wholeheartedly, from a place of worthiness. She throwbacks briefly to the importance of talking about shame (which is the central focus of I thought it was just me", and the issue of courage, compassion and connection, before outlining the ten 'guideposts' to wholeheartedness:

1. Cultivating authenticity and letting go of what people think
2. Cultivating self-compassion and letting go of perfectionism
3. Cultivating a resilient spirit and letting go of numbing and perfectionism
4. Cultivating joy and gratitude and letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith and letting go of letting go of the need for certainty
6. Cultivating creativity and letting go of comparison
7. Cultivating play and rest letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
8. Cultivating calm and stillness and letting go of anxiety as s lifestyle
9. Cultivating meaningful work and letting go of self-doubt and "supposed to"
10. Cultivating laughter, song and dance letting go of being cool and "always in control"

The book is a short and easy read, as Brown infuses her research findings and resultant definitions of many of these concepts with examples from her personal life. She is a humorous and honest storyteller, and walks the talk in terms of being vulnerable by putting her non-wholehearted moments of life in these pages. I have read reviews that criticize and question her well, authenticity - having taken a workshop with her on this material she appears without question to be living proof of the spiritual growth that can come from applying effort to embody and live these guideposts.

So if any of the topic interest you, it's worth a look, if only as a boosted shot for life's practice. There is however countless books that address each of these topics in greater depth and scale than Brown does here, and there are certainly much more sophisticated and time-honored practices to cultivate and uncover much of what is talked about. There are also likely cultural limitations of some of the topics. But the book is still a fine example of what good (qualitative) scientific research can arrive at when an open heart is behind it. And in a field (science, and increasingly spirituality) that is often lacking connection in communication - despite that being what many talk about - I think Brown does a stellar job at relating and providing a sense of connection and belonging. If anyone gets a chance to see her talk, I suggest not letting the opportunity pass - she is highly entertaining and uplifting.
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