Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Gifts of Imperfection

Title: The Gifts of Imperfection
Author:  Dr. Brene Brown
Publication Information:  Hazeldon. 2010. 160 pages.

Book Source:  I found this book while browsing in a bookstore.

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

The caption to the title of this book says, "Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are." A true idea and good advice. Hence, I was prompted to read the book.

Dr. Brene Brown is a research professor and public speaker whose work centers around the feelings of shame and worthiness. Her research is based on an approach known as Grounded Theory - to begin without pre-conceptions and to let the data drive the patterns. This book emerges out of that research as she identified commonalities in individual stories of people's lives.

The book introduces the concept of "wholeheartedness" and presents a guidebook on wholehearted living. The book is not a "how to" but rather a "what to" do. It is organized around ten ideas or guideposts to develop a wholehearted approach to living. The guides are presented in the positive behaviors to cultivate and the negative behaviors of which to let go.

The positive behaviors include authenticity, self-compassion, resilience, gratitude, joy, intuition, play, calm, laughter, and others. A familiar list and one most people will agree with. For that, I  appreciate the book. I find it meaningful to give myself periodic reminders of these ideas.

Where the book lacks for me is in the way it is written. Dr. Brown presents the book as a first person account through her journey of discovery. I find examples and "real life" scenarios are necessary to help ground a book such as this one. In this case, however, the ideas of the book and the personal story seems to compete to be the focal point of the book. So, while the ideas are interesting and her personal story could be interesting, I find myself unable to fully focus on either one. I appreciate the reminders and I appreciate her story, just perhaps separately.

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