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The Gifts of Imperfection

LifeDestroyer posted 12/29/2019 16:11 PM

After losing my first copy of Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection, I bought another copy and started from the beginning again. I'm only half way through, but I have found some quotes from it that I found extremely relevant.


"Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow; a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them--we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare."


"Shame resilience is the ability to recognize shame, to move through it constructively while maintaining worthiness and authenticity, and to ultimately develop more courage, compassion, and connection as a result of our experience...the less we talk about shame, the more we have it."


"Shame loses power when it is spoken."


"Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen."


"...shame is the birthplace of perfectionism. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the oath to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life-paralysis. Life-paralysis refers to all of the opportunities we miss because we're too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect. It's also all of the dreams that we don't follow because of our deep fear if failing, making nf mistakes, and disappointing others. It's terrifying to risk when you're a perfectionist; your self-worth is on the line "


"Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. [It is] more about perception---we want to be perceived as perfect.-----there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying."


"Feeling shamed, judged, and blamed (and the fear of these feelings) are realities of the human experience. Perfectionism actually increases the odds that we'll experience these painful emotions and often leads to self-blame: It's my fault. I'm feeling this way because 'I'm not good enough.'"

[This message edited by LifeDestroyer at 4:11 PM, December 29th (Sunday)]

DaddyDom posted 12/29/2019 22:15 PM

Thank you for sharing this. Brene Brown should be a "must read" for everyone in my personal opinion. My first introduction to her was "rising strong", but all of her books are amazing.

LifeDestroyer posted 12/29/2019 22:18 PM

I also have her I Thought It Was Just Me, but I haven't started that one yet.

EvolvingSoul posted 1/4/2020 20:18 PM

I'd like to add to the quote about love, because the section that comes right before what you posted is an important part of it, I think.

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”

The first time I read it was like a bell ringing. I had been saying "I love you" to BS for 15 years but I had not really loved him, not like it was described here. I had never been vulnerable enough to really love anyone like that, or to allow myself to be loved like that. It was shocking. And shockingly hopeful.

I hope you continue to study vulnerability and how it relates to shame. And I really hope that you put what you learn into practice. Just recognizing the problem isn't enough. You have to rewire your brain by pushing through the uncomfortable feelings and allowing yourself to practice vulnerability.

Stay the course, sister.

inconnu posted 1/4/2020 21:01 PM

if you haven't watched her TED talks, go watch the videos asap. Especially the first one. It's a TEDx Houston talk. It's what really propelled Brene Brown into the spotlight.

gmc94 posted 1/5/2020 09:42 AM

As a BS, I think evolvingsoul makes an important point.

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.
To me, vulnerability is the lynchpin for everything Brene Brown.

LifeDestroyer posted 1/5/2020 11:27 AM

Oh that word again, vulnerability . That has always been my struggle. I was reading a bit more and came across this part which I thought she was writing about me!

"We're afraid to lose what we love the most, and we hate that there are no guarantees. We think not being grateful and not feeling up will make it hurt less. We think if we can beat vulnerability to the punch by imagining loss, we'll suffer less."

She wrote it after saying how her fear of something terrible happening to her children actually prevented her from fully embracing joy and gratitude. She would get close to feeling joy about her children and how much she loved them, but then would picture something terrible happening in a flash. She realized that her "too good to be true" was related to fear, scarcity, and vulnerability.

I do that all the time!! I scare the hell out of myself when those images pop into my head. I did it with my marriage too. Things would be great and then I would imagine finding out that he cheated or that he came home one day to tell me that he wanted a divorce.

Yesterday, I attended a funeral for a coworker who passed away from cancer. It was the first funeral I've been to since my mom's, who also passed away from cancer. I really didn't think I could do it, but a bunch of us went to show support to her family. As soon as the family walked into the church, I lost it. Every image and moment from my mom's came crashing into my head. I had to start singing the alphabet in my head to stop myself from crying loudly. I sang that song a lot during the two hours. I normally would have done something to distract myself, like look at my phone or pretend to read the Bible, but I didn't. I cried a lot, but I did stop myself from really crying. I felt that bad that even though some of my tears were for her and her family's loss, a majority of them were for my mom (regrets of unfinished talks and talks that should have happened) and what I've done to my BH.

The other night I had to go over to watch our daughter while he got called in. When he came back at 3am we spoke a little. He was very vulnerable with me, apologizing for past things. I was honest with him on his past behaviors and how they hurt me. I also told him how hearing him apologize felt weird because I didn't feel like I deserved it after what I did to him. A few months ago, I wouldn't have said any of that. I would have been afraid to tell him how I truly felt out of fear.

Pippin posted 1/5/2020 13:29 PM

I felt that bad that even though some of my tears were for her and her family's loss, a majority of them were for my mom

LD, take a look at the phrase above.

I had the same experience a couple of years ago attending the funeral of the father of one of my children's friends. I cried as though it was my own father's funeral, thirty years ago. I asked a couple of friends about it, and my IC, and they all said that it is normal to allow yourself to feel the loss of people you have loved when you are attending the funeral of someone you are not close to. It's normal, and human, and among those who are aware, it's expected.

During the period around my father's actual death, I was mostly in shock. And even if I had been able to grieve then, it's OK to relive that grief at someone else's funeral. As long as you don't distract or intrude on the grief of the family.

But in that sentence you wrote, you judged yourself, and condemned yourself, for a normal, reasonable and human reaction. For participating in the grief of loss and death during a funeral.

One of the problems that many waywards have, and I include myself, is that we are miscalibrated about what is right and what is wrong. It makes it very hard to trust your instincts when you realize that.

For me, I thought that what was wrong were things that gave negative social feedback (including negative social feedback I imagined in other people's heads - I read a LOT of negative reactions that probably didn't exist). And I thought what was right were things that came from positive social feedback. These beliefs came directly from FOO and the environment I was in when I was younger. It's a good thing I mostly surrounded myself with good people as a young adults, especially my husband, because in the wrong group that approach could have been very destructive (though in some ways it's a bad thing that I didn't implode earlier, because that would have given me more chances to fix myself up earlier in life, but no matter. I have a lot of years left, I hope).

So what do you do when you realize how wrong your instincts and assumptions are about what is right and what is wrong? It's hard to navigate life with a broken compass. Here's what I do: Notice when I feel shame, or feel like hiding, and realize I need to check it out (that is EXTREMELY hard and goes to the point about vulnerability - opening yourself up just when you feel most like hiding). A lot of the time (most? almost all) I find that I am not nearly as bad as I think I am. Suspend judgment, be curious and ask trusted people what they think. I'm able to ask my husband, but if you can't do that, be on the lookout for people you can trust. This will be such a good chance to deepen your relationships with them. Journaling can help. Once I get the shamed, childish response written down, the more adult voice comes out. IC, of course, as long as I am honest and curious and trust the IC. For me, reading the Bible and prayer has helped. I haven't had that much religious experience before, but looking with completely new eyes, taking ownership of what I need from study and prayer, has been the key.

All those things can help you think about your responses with a more calibrated view instead of automatically accepting the message that you are shameful when it comes to you. I think you hear and accept that message a lot more than you are aware, and it is a huge weight on your shoulders. Have you ever thought about what the word depression means? To depress something means to push it down. Once the weight of shame is off of you, you will be no longer pressed down by it.

EvolvingSoul posted 1/6/2020 21:55 PM

I also have her I Thought It Was Just Me, but I haven't started that one yet.
This one might even be better to start with because it is the seminal research on shame and it really gets very granular not only on how shame manifests but offers a blue print for developing shame resilience. That book was a huge relief to read. I saw myself there on the pages and knew that I wasn't the only one to feel this way, that someone smart had been thinking about this problem for a while and there was a way to address it. I've read them both a few times and they are worth a re-read down the road.

IHatePickingName posted 1/6/2020 21:57 PM

I need to get that one on shame for my husband. He stuggles with that a lot.

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