The Gifts of Imperfection
For over a decade, Brené Brown has found a special place in our hearts as a gifted mapmaker and a fellow traveler. She is both a social scientist and a kitchen-table friend whom you can always count on to tell the truth, make you laugh, and, on occasion, cry with you. And what’s now become a movement all started with The Gifts of Imperfection, which has sold more than two million copies in thirty-five different languages across the globe.
What transforms this book from words on a page to effective daily practices are the ten guideposts to wholehearted living. The guideposts not only help us understand the practices that will allow us to change our lives and families, they also walk us through the unattainable and sabotaging expectations that get in the way.
Brené writes, “This book is an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution. A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘My story matters because I matter.’ Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance.”
Can you Relate?
How is it possible that I can be imperfect and still worthy?
Within the first few pages of The Gifts of Imperfection, author Brene Brown states, “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.”
The Gifts of Imperfection aligns with the Core level of the Evimero Couples Framework, specifically focusing on the category of Identity/Self-Esteem. It will help you embrace the reality of your imperfection, making you more vulnerable and relatable.
Tools for Growth
The Gifts of Imperfection is a beautiful exploration of what author Brene Brown refers to as the wholehearted journey. She helps the reader develop an understanding of wholehearted living, as a process of engaging in life from a place of worthiness, which in turn deepens our ability to connect with our partner (why we’re all part of the Evimero Couples Community!). Brown states, “My goal is to bring awareness and clarity to the constellation of choices that lead to wholeheartedness…” She isn’t offering a quick fix, instead she invites the reader on a journey of learning to make choices that lead to greater self-acceptance, connection, and love…all of the things to support a thriving relationship.
Brown has created 10 guideposts, or daily practices for the wholehearted journey. Within each guidepost she uses the framework of “DIG” for applying the concepts shared in the book. DIG stands for get Deliberate, get Inspired, and get Going, and for each letter she shares her thoughts and some helpful tools for growth in that area.
Guidepost #2 is near and dear to my (Laura) heart: Cultivating Self-Compassion - Letting Go of Perfectionism. She first introduces perfectionism, what it is and what it is not. Then she moves into DIG and makes recommendations for ways to get deliberate, inspired, and going. For the D she recommends taking Dr. Neff’s self-compassion test, which measures the elements of self-compassion - self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.
Through this test I learned a couple of things. 1 - I have more self-compassion than I realized (spoken like a true perfectionist). I also learned that an area of growth for me is within the component of Mindfulness. This led me down a path to developing a mindfulness practice, which includes yoga, breathing and meditation. When I am intentional about becoming more mindful my self-compassion grows, and a natural result is for my perfectionism to soften. In this space I am better able to calm my tendency to hustle for self-worth. I’m better able to drop the labels of the parts of me that I’ve labeled as “worthy” and “unworthy.” I’m better able to wholeheartedly embrace me. From this space I don’t feel like I have to protect any parts of who I am, and I am more willing to be vulnerable. All of this adds up to…I’m more willing to allow my partner to see me…fully, authentically, flaws and all…and in return, our connection deepens.
Every guide post has multiple recommendations within DIG, as well as the space to reflect and create your own plan for how you will apply the DIG acronym. So you can take her recommendations that resonate, leave the ones that don’t, and do your own digging to create a growth plan that’s just right for you.
We encourage you to work through this book with your partner. One possibility - read the chapters independently and then discuss the DIG exercises. Create the space to support one another in applying the DIG components. Discuss alternative or additional ways you can apply the contents of the chapter to grow together. For most perfectionists (or maybe just most humans in general), it takes something to open up and be vulnerable, even with the person you love. But vulnerability is one of the key components in a healthy, thriving, loving partnership, and one of the very best things about Brene Brown is she helps make vulnerability safe. Use this book as an opportunity to support one another in strengthening your core, as well as a way to deepen connection through honesty, vulnerability and acceptance.
Worth your Time?
Maybe you have tossed around the idea that you may have some perfectionist tendencies, but you aren’t really sure what it means or how it impacts your life. Or maybe you know that’s the camp in which you currently reside but have no idea what to do next (that was me when I read this book. I had no idea how to get out of the trap created by perfectionism). Or maybe you are simply curious. Maybe you are longing for a deeper sense of joy and connection with others, and you’re open to the path that leads you there. If any of this resonates with you, this book is absolutely worth your time.