The Gifts of Imperfection – Week 2

Personally, I was excited to get to this week’s material. Finally, the guidepost chapters. A to-do list! Some ways to actually fix the problem of perfectionism!

But that reaction was ironic…

The Things That Get in the Way
Brené wrote in “The Things That Get in the Way” chapter that she’s “not about the ‘how-to'”. And wow! Her strengths as a writer, researcher, and story-teller really shown in this chapter about the obstacles to Wholehearted living. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“If we want to live and love with our whole hearts, and if we want to engage with the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way – especially shame, fear, and vulnerability” (p. 36).

“We don’t talk about the hustle for worthiness that’s become such a part of our lives that we don’t even realize that we’re dancing” (p. 37).

“…shame corrodes the part of us that believes that we can change and do better” (p. 41).

I also LOVED her point about the difference between shame and guilt. (“Guilt = I did something bad. Shame = I am bad.”) This distinction has been life-changing for me. It’s allowed me to own my sins and mistakes without fear that they threaten my worth. And guilt becomes empowering when you realize that you have the choice to do something different in the future.

Oh, and the section on learning how you tend to respond to shame, and reaching out to someone to process, especially:
“If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky” (p. 47).

Cultivating Authenticity

Is it just me or are her definitions incredibly beautiful?! I love how she described authenticity as a daily practice, one that requires mindfulness and conscious choice.

In this chapter, I also loved how she described, “the audacity of authenticity” (p. 51) and that “authenticity isn’t always the safe option. Sometimes choosing being real over being liked is all about playing it unsafe” (p. 52).

“Being true to ourselves is the best gift we can give the people we love” (p. 53).

Cultivating Self-Compassion

“Where perfectionism exists, shame is always lurking” (p. 55). Wow. But what hit me the hardest was her description of what perfectionism is and is NOT. And that healthy achieving sounds different (p. 58).

There’s a part of me that has held onto the belief that perfectionism is a good thing. Or, at least it would be if I were better at it!

She wrote that, “Perfectionism never happens in a vacuum. It touches everyone around us” (p. 61). This point helps motivate me to overcome the perfectionism addiction. I don’t want to do that to the others around me. And isn’t that where self-compassion comes in? I’ve been an ass to myself. Treated myself in ways I would never accept treating another. Ouch! Time to be a little kinder…

I remember the first time I read this book, I was dissatisfied with the DIG Deep sections. Even a little pissed off. Where’s the how-to I was looking for? These aren’t step-by-step instructions!

This time around, I appreciate them more. I loved the idea of getting deliberate about what I want, letting inspiration move me instead of shame, and taking action, something this avoider resists!

And, inspired by this book, I did some things differently this week. The biggest one was calling a friend when I was feeling totally ashamed and afraid. And you know what? Brené was right. It strengthened our connection. I felt understood and loved. It took courage, but was so worth it.

How about you? What did you think of these chapters? How did you DIG deep this week?

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