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Book Review of "Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown

This is the first self-help book I have started and actually completed. Not that the other ones were bad per say, but this one really spoke to me. It wasn't even specific to my age but it was one of those situations where I felt like Brene Brown wrote that book for me.


I love what she writes about "when we numb the dark, we numb the light" (72). Unfortunately we can't have both. Instead of taking the risk for some sunlight, we often don't give it the chance to shine. I struggle hard with this. Whenever I am hopeful about something, my immediate response is to imagine every negative outcome that could occur so that if one happens, I won't be surprised. That's really depressing when said out loud but that's how I've always reacted to potential opportunities. Getting my hopes up was too vulnerable so I forbid it. If I hurt my hopes from the get go, nobody else has the power to. Recently I've been recognizing this about myself but this book really solidified why I do it. With that in mind, I'm trying to catch myself and make a point to visualize the potential positive outcomes just as much if not more than the negative ones. Whether it's about a crush or a career move, it's so hard to push for how we honestly feel. Amongst peers and strangers, sharing our authentic emotions is a bold move. But when we give it the chance, man can there be some beautiful outcomes.


A beautiful quote, "Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments - often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we're too busy chasing down extraordinary moments..." (80). How real is that? We all are on this journey of "happiness" as if it's a place or a destination. But really it comes in waves. It comes as a temporary mindset that gets swayed and smacked around as life does its thing. When we get that one awesome job or opportunity we're "happy" and on top of the world... When we have that special someone that makes us feel whole... When we "achieve" or "fall into" these happy times, we feel like it's been ripped from us when that phase ends. But what if we redefine happiness like Brene suggests in this quote? Happiness isn't a state to find, but rather a simplistic collection of small joys to enjoy as they happen. It seems more achievement to me that way.


I lovelovelove what she says about creativity. The world isn't made up of creative and non-creative people, just people who use it or don't. How wonderful is this?: "If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing - it doesn't matter. As long as we're creating, we're cultivating meaning." I raise all four limbs in agreement! Everyone is creative! It saddens me when people say to me, "Oh I wish I was creative like you" or "I wish I could write things like you do. I just wasn't made like that." No! Just because we apply our creativity differently doesn't mean one is more creative than the other. Everyone is creative if they allow themselves the chance.


And the big one. My #anxiety hikes up whenever someone says "What do you do?" Honestly the next time someone asks that I might pull a Brene and say "How much time do you have?" I was recently asked "What are you doing with your life?" by a complete stranger. Come on, people. Who the heck is ever one thing? Sure, some of us have a bajillion interests and some have three but how can anyone define themselves and their implied worth in a single sentence.



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Cover Photo by Brene Brown Site

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