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The Gifts of Imperfection Brene Brown Book Summary

Last week in the bible study that I go to, we were discussing the story of Jesus when he was traveling through Samaria and stopped at a well to rest. While Jesus was there, a Samaritan woman comes to draw water from the well. Jesus asks her for a drink, which surprises the woman because Jews and Samaritans typically did not associate with each other. But they keep talking to each other and Jesus tells a lot of things about the woman including her past five marriages that all resulted in divorce. The woman is feeling so much shame because of this. But despite the shame, she still talks to Jesus, and she is making herself vulnerable by opening herself up to the possibility of judgment or rejection from Jesus. But Jesus doesn’t reject or judge her, instead, he shows compassion and acceptance toward the woman. This was something that no one has ever done to this woman, and it totally transforms her, because she saw that Jesus knew everything about her and still accepts her. When we were reading this story, I couldn’t help but think about the things I feel shame about. Like sometimes I feel very lonely and am so ashamed to even tell my friends about it. I am not perfect just like everybody else but sometimes we have feelings of shame around these imperfections. Berne Brown whom I call the mother of vulnerability, in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, says that we should embrace and celebrate our imperfections, rather than striving for perfectionism which often leads to shame and unhappiness. Berne Brown describes shame as the fear of disconnection. When we experience shame, we feel like we are unworthy of love and belonging, and we try to hide our imperfections from others. But she argues that shame thrives in secrecy and silence and that the best way to overcome it is to be vulnerable and share our struggles with others.


One of the key concepts in the book is the idea of "wholehearted living." Brown defines this as living a life where we have the courage to be imperfect, the compassion to be kind to ourselves and others, and the connection to know that we are all worthy of love and belonging. Living wholeheartedly is about living with an inner feeling of worthiness. It’s about thinking “I am enough” whatever shit may happen. Getting to this point is not an event – it’s a process.  So many want to experience love yet don’t because they don’t believe they are worthy of receiving it. Most believe they will be worth it at some point, when: They lose weight, earn more money, find a partner, and more. But this is a mistake. You’re already worthy. For most of my life when someone loved me, I was not able to fully accept that. And now I know why. It was because I didn’t think I was worthy of it. And when it comes to loving others, it is obvious that you cannot love others if you don’t love yourself. Berne Brown says “Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” And my teacher Wayne Dyer used to say, “You cannot give away what you don’t have.” So, if you don’t have love inside you, you cannot give it away to others. That’s why we need to work on our shame and cultivate a self-loving attitude. Only then we can truly accept love from others and be loving toward them.




So, in summary, Brené Brown talks about living an authentic life, choosing worthiness over shame and guilt. Basically, she encourages us to embrace all the messy, imperfect, and even heartbreaking parts of our lives and find joy in them. One of the things she talks about is the importance of owning our own stories and being willing to share them with someone we trust. It's not always easy to step into this kind of vulnerability, but Brené believes it's necessary for true connection and growth. She also acknowledges that this journey of living wholeheartedly can be confusing and even scary at times. It's a process that might terrify not only ourselves but also those around us. However, she reminds us that to live with an open heart is to be both brave and afraid, and that's okay. One of Brené's key messages is that shame loses its power when we speak it. So, she encourages us to speak our shame and not let it hold us back. It's not an easy process, but it's one that can help us live more fully and authentically. So speak out your shame.

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