Book Review – The Gifts of Imperfection

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You AreThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

I’ve been reading a lot of self-help-ish books lately, because I’ve had a rough couple of years. I thought I might find a bit of guidance in them, in particular in the areas of letting go of shame and allowing myself happiness.

I genuinely want and strive to be a joyful person who appreciates her life, even on the hard days, and I felt as though I had lost that a little bit. What was pointed out to me in this book, which in particular helped, was that my efforts are actually the first step in finding that place again. Just wanting that peace and joy instead of being willing to wallow in unhappiness is a step in the right direction.

One of my main roadblocks to happiness is shame. I carry around bucketloads of shame and guilt for decisions I’ve made in my life, but as this author points out, most of our shame is created by trying to be someone that either society or other people in our lives want us to be, instead of living authentically and trying to just be our real selves.

But, I had to ask myself, is my real self enough? Yeah, that’s the little voice in my head I need to shut off. That’s shame speaking. That fear of not being good enough for people is what drives so much unhappiness in the world. We are beleagured by messages from advertisers set out to convince us that we won’t be enough unless we buy _____ to fix ourselves. We are assaulted by women’s magazine covers telling us we won’t be good enough unless we buy their publication to learn how to fix ourselves so that men/girlfriends/bosses/society will think we are awesome, whether it’s how to get that promotion or how to be better in bed.

But we all are enough, just as we are. We are here, and that is enough. If you are just being yourself, you are doing everything you are supposed to do in this life. You don’t have to do ten bajillion acts of selflessness to be good enough to deserve people liking you. You don’t have to lose twenty pounds to deserve love. You don’t have to make 500 cupcakes for the bake sale to deserve your kids. None of that matters in the end, and in the end you deserve to be happy being you.

Isn’t that amazing and awesome?

Okay, maybe it isn’t quite that easy to turn a switch on and off, but this book lays out a really simple roadmap to help you get there. With down-to-earth writing and simple ways to implement authenticity into your life, it gives you not only the message of what you can do, but steps for how to get there.

I found this to be awfully short – I think I would have appreciated a few more anecdotes from research and a little more guidance in the practical areas, but overall it is a helpful and lovely read.

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