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The Gift Of Imperfections by Brene Brown book summary | Keypoints - Ebookworld

 The Gifts Of Imperfection shows you how to embrace your inner flaws to accept who you are, instead of constantly chasing the image of who you’re trying to be, because other people expect you to act in certain ways.

The Gifts Of Imperfection is about being okay with not being perfect, giving you ten guidelines to live what Brené calls “a wholehearted life.”

Here are my top 3

  1. Trusting your gut and making rational decisions aren’t mutually exclusive.
  2. Comparing yourself to other people makes you boring, not better.
  3. The alternative to play isn’t to work more – it’s getting depressed.

Key Points -

1 – Authenticity is a choice that needs courage, compassion, as well as connection.

A lot of people would like to live a life that is true to who they are; meaning, we’d like to be as authentic as possible.

Unluckily, some factors hinder us from doing that: for instance, a lack of self-confidence or pressure to fit in. Due to that, we feel we are inauthentic people, very weak to live honestly. However, this is simply false!



Authenticity isn’t a feature that you either have or don’t. Instead, it’s a choice, one that shows how we want to live. It’s the day-to-day choice, to be honest, accept our vulnerability and not care about what others think of us.

So because it’s a choice, we, therefore, have the decision to be authentic on certain days and less authentic on the days when we’re too tired.

But if you do, choose to behave with more authenticity, then you’ll have to practice courage and compassion.

Compassion, in contrast with sympathy, is a connection between equals: for us to relate to the struggles of others, you have to accept your own, as well. By understanding that everyone around you has probably experienced what you’re experiencing now, you’ll find it easy to open up go them and finding supporrt.


2 – Fear of shame conceals at the back perfectionism.

Are you a perfectionist? If so, do you see it as a positive quality?

Although perfectionism sounds positive, it isn’t worth pursuing. It’s different than struggling to be your best and it is not the same as self-improvement. Instead, it revolves around the central fear of shame.

In brief, perfectionism is the belief that, if we appear perfect and live and behave perfectly, then we’ll be able to protect ourselves from criticism, judgment or blame. Meaning, it is meant to protect us against shame.

But, life as a perfectionist is emotionally unhealthy, because it enables our own self-worth reliant on support or acceptance from others. Perfectionism isn’t only unhealthy; however, it’s also addictive and self-destructive. As a matter of fact, perfectionism is pointless, as perfection itself is deceptive!

Also, perfectionism can lead to life paralysis, which means the failure to put oneself out into the world, as a result of fear of imperfection. For example, people suffering from life paralysis might not be able to send that email to someone they appreciate out of fear that it won’t be received well or they might not publish their work due to fear of criticism.

Fortunately, we can avoid the limitations of perfectionism by just being honest with our fear of shame and by telling ourselves to do things for ourselves instead of for others.

For instance, when next you want to get fit, don’t let other people’s opinions of you and your body be your motivation. Rather, tell yourself that exercise and a healthy diet will make you feel better and healthier and that either your success or failure in getting fit won’t have any effect on your worth as a person.

3 – Develop purpose and perception in order for you to become resilient even when you encounter adversity.

How many of us have attempted to lose weight, but we rather give up at the first indication of trouble? A lot of us lack the resilience needed to attain our aim. Fortunately, that can be changed. Let’s begin by looking at where resilience comes from:

Resilience derives from practicing hope. While the hope is regularly seen as an emotion-based on situations beyond our control, researcher C.R. Snyder disputes that instead, that hope is really a cognitive process that can both be learned and practiced.

Hope arises from telling yourself where you want to go, knowing how you can get there and telling yourself that you have what it requires to succeed. You can make the light at the end of the tunnel seem nearer or brighter by separating larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones.


When next you encounter a frightening challenge maybe quitting nicotine, make a conscious decision to take it one day at a time. Thinking about your determinations for a day is much easier than thinking about it for a year or for the rest of your life. And once you understand the habit of not smoking, your resilience will build on itself.

4– In order to be a better decision-maker, you need to let go of the desire for certainty and trust your intuition.

One of your greatest means in decision-making is your instinct. But a lot of people struggle to trust their instinct.

It is partly because the majority of people don’t know what intuition is. They think of intuition as a “gut” feeling that doesn’t have anything to do with rationality or reason. But, in reality, intuition and reason are not mutually exclusive.

Instead, intuition functions like a rapid-fire series of associations that occurs unconsciously. How so?

Your brain goes through your records of memories when it makes an observation in order to discover important information. This information is gathered into the unconscious “gut feeling” that notifies your actions.

By accepting your intuition, you simply put trust in both yourself and the experiences that have added to your knowledge. This makes you act with a degree of confidence even though you are not aware of how the event will turn out. For instance, the basketball player can’t be sure that the ball will swish through the hoop, however, he can guess based on his instinct.

5– Accept your own creative ability to do away with the need for comparison.

It is completely natural when we compare ourselves to others and it is something we all do. But, in our efforts to compare ourselves against our peers, we frequently end up really ridding ourselves of the actual abilities that make us interesting people.
We need to begin by accepting our own individuality if we need to exceed these arbitrary comparisons. When we concentrate on our own unique abilities, it reminds us that the world contains people, each of whom makes unique and incomparable contributions.

What if you are not creative?

Gibberish! There is nothing like “creative types” and “non-creative types.” However, there is an obvious difference between those who make use of their creativity and those who don’t.

Therefore, don’t get caught up on whether you’re creative enough. Just go out there and create! It doesn’t matter whether you paint, cook, write, make music or any other thing. As long as you’re creating, you’re also developing your individuality.

6– Know your own gifts and abilities so that you will be able to share with the world.

How many times did your parents or teachers tell you to stop spending your entire time on drawing, singing or playing and rather do some actual work? It’s time you disregard their advice!

We all have exceptional gifts and abilities that belong to just us, and we have to accept them, instead of disregarding them for the sake of getting “real work” done. For instance, some of us might be artistically gifted, while some of us might be good at conversation. Others might have a unique talent for recalling sports statistics.

You can integrate your talents into your daily life by looking at your career in terms of “slashes.”

For instance, during the day if you work as an insurance broker and you also like to write novels during your spare time, you don’t have to denigrate your literary talents by presenting yourself as an “insurance broker who fiddles in writing on the side.”

Because your passion isn’t what you spend the majority of your time doing doesn’t signify that it’s any less a part of yourself. Rather, tell people that you’re an “insurance broker and a writer.”

7– Don’t be scared of being uncool.

In this era of social media, the pressure to show ourselves as cool, relaxed types with adventurous lives and without a care in the world has never been stronger. However, it is exactly this wish to be “cool” that makes us isolated from others.

We have to be connected to one another, and the best method to do this is through laughter, song, and dance. These three things form an emotional and spiritual connection with those that surround us and it enables us to feel that we’re not alone.

We need to tell ourselves that it’s normal and okay to be uncool; it’s part of the chance to promote a connection with others.

The only means to continue the façade of coolness is by putting away those who seemed to be “not as cool,” and to do so at the expense of real connection. However, by throwing caution to the wind and enabling yourself to passionately enjoy activities like laughter, song, and dance without reservation, you lose the need to criticize others and gain a chance for sincere connection.

Mini Summary

You can choose to let go of yourself to live a “fake life” for others, or you can embrace who you are and own your life story. You’ll love life, others, and yourself better when you’re authentic.

Live wholeheartedly by switching your mindset from trying to be perfect and identifying yourself with what other’s think, to feeling “I am enough” no matter what happens today. You’ll be more courageous, compassionate, and connected this way. And wholehearted living is a never-ending process, not a milestone.

Strive to DIG deep, especially when you’re tired and stressed by being:

  • Deliberate – Be intentional in what you think and do.
  • Inspired – Get yourself in the right emotional and mental place to feel like yourself.
  • Going – Take action, whether that’s to rest or work harder—just do it.

Action Steps For You

Owning your story isn’t the easiest thing to do out there.

It takes guts to speak about your guilt and shame. It requires courage to tell people how you’re thinking instead of what they want you to say. And bravery is needed to live authentically with your imperfections.

Though when you practice living a true live where you think, speak, and act in congruence with yourself, not how you’re supposed to be, you open your heart to love yourself and others.

The means to do this are to practice courage, compassion, and connection on a daily basis. Those are the gifts of imperfection.

And don’t try to be perfect, you’ll live a lie because you’re not flawless and no one else is either. You’ll be happier when you embrace you’re human and have your faults, and allow others to help you or give you a shoulder to lean on.

So don’t try to be the Hollywood star you admire (we know they have their issues) or the cool guy at the office. Instead be your authentic self and own your story, then you’ll be blessed with the gifts of imperfection.

I challenge you, today, to go out and tell a trusted family member or friend how you’re feeling today and why. Be vulnerable. Open up and allow them to see your imperfection. If they’re a good friend, you’ll both feel better after this conversation.

The journey to wholehearted living can start today if you open your heart. The choice is yours. Please do it for yourself and the people around you.

And practice loving yourself. Find your favorite hobby so you can go to that to find play, rest, and joy. Give your heart and happiness as much attention as you give your career and success. Ironically being happier will fuel you to be more successful.

Your life will never be the same when you strive for wholehearted living.

What else can you learn from the blinks?

  • Why authenticity is a choice
  • The three C’s of being an authentic person
  • What perfection really is about (and how to get rid of it)
  • How to build resilience thanks to purpose and perspective
  • Why gratitude is a practice and how to implement it
  • How to make your anxiety manageable
  • Why you should see your career in slashes
  • The reason that being uncool is actually cool
    Good Reads Community Reviews About The Gift Of Imperfections 

Ed McKeogh rated it really liked it.

I've read more than my fair share of "self-help" literature, so I can assert with conviction that this is not a self-help book. Instead, it's a revelation book. Each chapter triggered numerous "ah-Ha!" moments for me, because Dr. Brown goes a step (or two, or five) beyond the common way of looking at or framing an issue to reveal the interconnectedness of elements that stall or sabotage our efforts to live a more satisfying life. Instead of the "that doesn't quite resonate" vibe I often get from self-help books, Dr. Brown's perspectives ring true, and she re-labels certain attitudes and experiences in a way that's both startling and, importantly, hopeful. She gleans her insights from her research centered on living a "wholehearted" life, which grew out of her previous (perhaps ongoing?) study of "shame." The results that Dr. Brown presents in this slim, readable book are nothing short of fascinating, and they function not as a how-to manual for quickly fixing an out-of-balance life, but as a set of powerful tools with which to cultivate a richer, more fully engaged and connected life. 

Anna rated it liked it.

I really like Brene Brown--she gave a terrific and funny TED talk about her research concerning the importance of vulnerability, of imperfection, of failure, and so I read her book. I think her thesis is superb, her research about shame and wholeheartedness really interesting, and the message of the book necessary to modern life. But! I can't help it. I hoped for a little more "perfectionism" in the writing (and structuring! of the book as a whole) which could have used another round or two of editing. (I'm sorry, Brene! Old habits die hard.) STILL, it is an important idea and worth reading.

Two other wishes:
1. That she included us in the process of her research. I'd like to see some examples and learn better or more directly how she drew her conclusions. Call me a geek. I like the science of it, and I think it would make for a more interesting read. 

2. I think she might enlarge her audience. It felt to me as though the book were written for the privileged--those employed in demanding dream jobs with financial stability and intact families. Don't those down on their luck need help with turning failure into opportunity? Not all of the book felt this way, but some of it did. I also wasn't a fan of the religious element--she seemed to enlarge the discussion for people of all faiths/no faith and then in another part return to her own. Perhaps this was not entirely bothersome as it is written from her point of view, in her voice, but these inclusions felt a little narrow and even shallow at times.

And, one last thing: I think a lot of self-help books are written for the spa set. I am not saying this book fits into that category entirely, but it feels like many do. After all, many people can't afford to scale back and are working several jobs just to buy orange juice and gas just now. (And health insurance? The cost of prescription drugs. And, good God, the student loan! And, foreclosures.) I read somewhere that the average income for a family of four is $40,000. Is that true? If it is, ! And, of course, too, many people are out of work or have work that in no way represents who they are because they have to have a job. So. ? Sometimes I think these books are a little out of touch. And, lack gratitude in fundamental ways: financial stability, a job of one's dreams. A roof over one's head. The ability to protect/feed/use preventative care/immunize etc. and educate and nurture one's children. Well. So, I have said it. And, perhaps it is unfair. It is not wrong to also think about oneself and to grow in important ways, no matter one's circumstances. But, one place that stood out to me in this text was a trip to the mall with her daughter, not having washed her hair and thrown it back with a headband I believe it was. There are some sparkling, clean women there with their children, and her daughter begins to dance to the music as they do in their kitchen at home, as a family. She decides not to allow the judgment of these women bother her and instead dances with her daughter to the music. On the surface, sort of sweet. Combatting the shame ? maybe? being messed up and dancing in public while people at least appear to think you are nuts (maybe they don't really and that is one's made-up fantasy, who knows?). BUT. I was thinking about another reader. What about the shame/vulnerability/feelings of failure or imperfection of not being able to afford a pair of shoes for one's daughter? And, apologizing to one's daughter walking by the women with shopping bags and children with new clothes? Or, not being able to go to the mall at all? Isn't it deeply fortunate to dance while shopping and return home with plenty or all one needs? hair unwashed or not? Still, I do think the central message of Brown's book is instructive and, as I said, important. But. ? I sometimes think these books lack a sense of perspective or proportion.

Favorite quote from the author:

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