The Daring Way: The Gifts of Imperfection Review

“Owning our stories can be hard but not as difficult as spending our life running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brace enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”  Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Ten years ago, The Gifts of Imperfection was released for the first time.  Two weeks ago, it was re-released in hardback form to an entirely new audience during a time in our world where it is needed most.   Perfectionism is a way many individuals attempt to manage their internal thought process and basically avoid negative feelings.  At the end of the day, perfectionism is a form of trying to control aspects of our life to decrease our anxiety and stress.  However, it doesn’t work.  Sorry to burst your bubble!

MELISSA TAKEAWAYS & THOUGHTS:

Being your true self takes a leap of faith, a genuine understanding, and a sense of togetherness between you and everything else.

If most people want to live their lives as the most real version of themselves, but it can be harder than it sounds.  Being real with who we are at the core means accepting that not everybody will like or accept us.   We may lose some of what we consider normal in our life or our support system.   However, if you lose someone in your life for being authentically you – do you want them in your life in the first place?  Something to ponder

People want to be un-flawed and are often scared of falling short of perfect.

Though striving to be flawless sounds like a positive trait, it can hold a negative attitude.  For my female readers, let’s talk about the beauty myth held within our culture.   I applaud actresses and major brands that have advertising campaigns without airbrushing or creative lighting.  It shows that perfection does not exist.   Even the most beautiful individuals have flaws they try to “cover” up in creative ways.   My neighbor texted yesterday to see what I was doing and if I wanted company.  I looked at my house (attempting this organizing/minimalist living thing and finding out I own WAY too much stuff), looked in the mirror (who needs makeup on an organizing day?) and then checked to see if I brushed my teeth yet.  After my quick scan, I said “sure” and decided that if she could not accept where I was at than that was her issue and not mine.   I can rock an evening gown as well as I love my hoodie and sweats with no makeup.   Every day I make mistakes.  Every day I fall far from perfection – internally and externally.   Every day I have moments of wondering if I am “good enough” to do what I do.    Then I remember my ‘why’ and returning to living within my own Rockstar skin.

Know your “why” so that you can prosper when times get tough.

When we have a well-rounded picture of what we want to accomplish, we can navigate failures with more ease.  What is your WHY?  Why do you do what you do?  Why are passionate with what you are?  Why are you the way you are?  Why are your goals there?  Figuring out your WHY becomes your foundation, your grounding force and your stabilizer when you are in a space of questioning why you have not moved to Fiji yet.    Let’s try a mind map for this issue… take a blank piece of paper and write WHY in the center of the page.  Think about why you do what you or who you are at the core.  What is the first word that comes to mind?  Write it down!  What is the next word?  Keep going until your page is full (you can always grab another!) or until your run out of words.  Take a look at what made it to the page.  What do you see?   Any patterns?   There is a theme is there somewhere that will identify your WHY very clearly, or help you develop the answer with some additional thoughts.  Let me know what your WHY is!   It is a very empowering process to fully living your authentic life.

Realize the importance of every moment, even the mundane.

Practicing continuous gratefulness for the things you have in your life affects your entire mindset.  If someone would tell me to write in a gratitude journal, I would probably roll my eyes at them or tell them what I thought of the suggestion depending on the day!    However, there is so much truth in the practice of intentionally identifying what you are grateful for in your life every day.  Our brains are wired to focus on what is not going well in our lives.    When I was teaching undergraduate students, we would give out a survey towards the end of the semester to evaluate my ability to be an effective professor.  There was a process of my handing them out, leaving the room, identifying a point person to turn them in so that I could get the results in six weeks.  The first few semesters I would open them super excited to see what my fabulous students thought only to focus on the 3% of the students who had something negative to say about my teaching style.   My brain could connect the comments intellectually to a student perhaps not getting the grade they wanted, the work was too hard, etc.  But my human side negated the positive comments and glowing reviews to focus on the handful of negative ones.  Over time I was able to adjust that process to be more balanced but that took intentional work.

Our brain is like a bicep.  Work with me here for a minute… If I wanted to have incredible biceps I would have to go to the gym or use weights at home.  It would have to be a continuous practice of working the muscle, increasing reps/weights as needed and focusing on the process of gaining strength and definition in my bicep.  Our brains are no different.  They are a muscle that needs focus, intention and consistent practice to “train” it to grow.    Just like our biceps, we lose definition if we stop training.  If we stop intentionally training our brain to be present, grateful and focused on the positive aspects of yourself it will fall back into our negative nature.

Trust your gut.

Even though it’s hard, you can make wiser choices if you give up the need for knowing what the future holds.  Right now, we live in a world that looks different than anything I thought it would look like.   A year ago I would have laughed at you if you told me we would all be wearing masks, encouraging social isolation and people looking at each other like we have the plague (which was my recent airport experience!).   No contact delivery and curbside pick-up has become the norm.   Invites are qualified with “we will be socially distancing”.   Every discussion I have had recently about future plans with friends regarding traveling, next summer, etc is tagged with ‘if the world resets by then’.

We have never had control over our future no matter what you have tried to convince yourself.   Right now we struggle to even find a perception of control to plan the future which can be overwhelming or result in anxiety.  At the end of the day we can only control ourselves in the moment with the information we have at that exact moment.  If that changes, then we can change.   One day at a time has an entirely new meaning in 2020.

But your gut will never lie to you.   It is our best lie detector, comfort level and decision maker.

The process can be uncomfortable, it may be painful, and it definitely will challenge you.   But at the end of this journey, my hope is that you realize that the emotional mask is not worth the energy any longer.

Being known for who you uniquely are at the core is a freeing experience.

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Always remember to take care of you.  You are worth it!

Melissa

 

 

 

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