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The Gifts of Imperfection

Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are

By Brené Brown
18-minute read
Audio available
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection offers an accessible and engaging walk through the ten principles that you can follow to live a more fulfilling life, defined by courage, connection and compassion towards others. Filled with relatable anecdotes and actionable advice, the book is a useful resource for readers both young and old.

  • Anyone who wants to live a more meaningful life
  • Anyone who has a  great idea, but is afraid to share it with the world
  • Anyone troubled by feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability

Brené Brown is an author and professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, where she specializes in research on shame and its effects on the human mind. Her work has been featured by a diverse selection of media, including PBS, NPR, CNN, OWN, and TED.

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The Gifts of Imperfection

Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are

By Brené Brown
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
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The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
Synopsis

The Gifts of Imperfection offers an accessible and engaging walk through the ten principles that you can follow to live a more fulfilling life, defined by courage, connection and compassion towards others. Filled with relatable anecdotes and actionable advice, the book is a useful resource for readers both young and old.

Key idea 1 of 11

Authenticity is a choice that requires courage, compassion and connection.

Most people would like to live a life that is true to who they are; in other words, we’d like to be as authentic as possible.

Unfortunately, a handful of factors stand in the way: for example, a lack of self-confidence or pressure to conform. As a result, we feel we are inauthentic people, too weak to live honestly. But this is simply untrue!

Authenticity isn’t a quality that you either have or don’t. Rather, it’s a choice, one that reflects how we want to live. It’s the daily decision to be honest, embrace our vulnerability and to not care what others think.

And because it’s a choice, we thus have the option to be authentic on some days and less authentic on those other days when we’re too tired.

If you do, however, choose to act with more authenticity, then you’ll need to practice courage and compassion.

You’ll need the courage to speak your mind and allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of others. To look at this in practice, think about the next time you really want something to happen, like winning a contest or nailing an interview. Try not to play down your hopes in these situations. Acting like failure is no big deal won’t make the pain of failure any easier. In contrast, being honest about your hopes makes it possible for you to find support when you need it.

Furthermore, exercising compassion allows you to recognize that you aren’t alone, and that, in fact, everyone around you struggles with the exact same issues as you.

Compassion, in contrast with sympathy, is a relationship between equals: in order to relate to the struggles of others, you have to acknowledge your own, as well. By understanding that everyone around you has likely gone through what you’re going through now, you’ll have an easier time opening up to them and finding support.

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