I had heard her name over and over. I knew she was an inspiring author and I knew that so many people I know loved her work. It wasn’t until my therapist that I met after our car accident said to me…you need to go home and watch Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on Shame that I dove in…
AND I AM SO GLAD I DID.
And we are currently getting a big load of messages from people saying thank you for sharing the magic of her books on Instagram stories and live videos. I just can not stress enough how universally relatable her studies and books are. I do not know of one person who couldn’t pick up her book and relate and understand and most importantly…LEARN! She has such a gift to be wise, teach well but stay humble and so authentically herself. It’s not just inspiring, it’s life changing.
People always talk about life changing books and experiences. I believe them. But I think that this process of walking through Brene’s research along with her tangible actions TOPS IT for me. When thinking of how I wanted to blog about this first book I read, The Gifts of Imperfection, I knew that I had no idea how to be a book reviewer to any formal degree and needed to do it as authentically as I could, Amanda’s way 🙂 So with that said … I’m going to share the TOP takeaways from this book so you can see the general feel and value in this read…trust me, it will rock your soul in the best way! 🙂
The main takeaway that leads to so many broken down and details points and concepts and research findings: Running from our stories, the good and the bad that both make up WHO we are, simply isn’t worth it. There is a [brave] choice to own it authentically and show up as yourself…this my friend, is where FREEDOM BEGINS.
That was written by me, not Brene, but it sums up what I was given by this book. Permission. I was given permission. I was told that it’s going to be MORE rewarding and fulfilling and freeing if I show up owning my flaws, facing my shame and boldly working through it. She’s right.
I laughed when she said people on airplanes instantly regret asking her what she does for a living, haha! “I’m a shame researcher” – LOL, can you imagine? I have to admit…reading that shame was going to be a topic almost made me steer clear. AND THAT…that right there, is exactly why I needed to dive in. I don’t want to be so hell bent on running away from things that scare me that I never face them. Brene quoted someone else in saying “shame is the swampland of the soul” but she also says it’s an important place to visit, but you can’t live there. Again…she’s right. Here is what I learned about shame:
Shame loves secrecy.
Shame hates when we tell our story.
Maybe the most important shame data I needed was this:
Guilt = I did something bad
Shame = I am bad
Shame is also noted as the pain that our flaws will make us unworthy of love and make others think less of us, and as if the weight of one single experience will collapse upon us. There’s a real fear that we will be defined by one thing that we’re ashamed of when it’s just a sliver of who we really are.
Here’s something that REALLY hit me about shame…we tend to think it hides in the deepest darkest places but it mostly shows up in the most familiar places, the day-to-day.
My favorite thing mentioned about shame? It loses it’s power when spoken. If you can talk about it with at least one person, it can’t hold you back anymore.
Your courage can make the world braver & have a ripple effect, it’s contagious! (And VERY inspiring if you ask me!) The ultimate act of courage in our society is to show us authentically as yourself in a world that tells you not to do that. Being authentic and being fully yourself is vulnerable…and that is a very courageous act.
I read this chapter and was just like COMPLETELY mind blown… especially when I read this sentence:
“Authenticity is not something you have, it’s a practice, a conscious choice of how we want to live” — so when you say something is an authentic person, you really mean they live authentically because it’s a constant choice and action versus a trait. A constant decision to show up as yourself, a pretty darn awesome act of courage in this judgmental world.
Hopeful and exhausting….probably the most true two words to describe authenticity. Hopeful because we value being real (as most of us are drawn to warm, down-to-earth, honest people) and exhausting because we know what we’re up against when we show up as ourselves. NOT everyone will like us when we show up authentically. That’s okay, too 🙂
Audacity of authenticity: Most of us have shame triggers around being perceived as selfish or narcissistic – “How dare we bravely be so ourselves and okay with it” when we’ve been so _______ in the past. I love knowing I have the permission to live in the now and be who I am here, today.
Here’s the part I connect with most. Authenticity is NOT the safe option, but it’s the badass and brave option. With that comes cruel shaming responses from people who are deeply threatened by your ability to show up as themselves. Lovability is one of the things that they’ll go for first when shaming and it speaks so much more to their pain and own personal shaming experiences than it does of you, but it’s a risk you take to show up as yourself authentically. A risk worth taking.
OH THIS ONE HIT ME HARD – Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.
Okay, okay, Type A Amanda needed to hear this out, but it makes total sense! I really wanted to skip over this chapter, I’m so glad I didn’t. Brene calls herself a recovering perfectionist and aspiring good-enoughist, LOL!
I’m about to hit my perfectionists hard. Oh you guys…get ready for it. We needed this reality check:
Perfectionism is not the same as striving to be your best. It’s actually the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect and act perfect we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame. It’s a shield.
Ummmm…call me out Brene. CALL ME OUT GIRL. I have a feeling a lot of people are relating to this right now. Also noted and brilliantly stated…. for perfectionists, self worth is on the line and ironically, perfectionism INCREASES the odds we will experience the painful emotions that we’re running from! Boom! So good and true!
I love what she said about hope. Hope is not an emotion, it’s a way of thinking and cognitive process.
Hope happens when…
We have the ability to set realistic goals
We are able to figure out how to achieve these goals including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes
We believe in ourselves
HOPEFUL SELF TALK – This is tough, but I can do it
Then she goes into talking about how dangerous hopelessness is and it’s so very enlightening….this whole chapter is AMAZING!
LAST THOUGHTS (from me): There is so much more to this book. SO much more. But one more thing I learned and love was about the difference between fitting in and belonging. Those who “fit in” aren’t showing up as themselves, rather, looking around a room and assessing the situation and seeing what they need to do, where, say, etc to FIT IN. Helloooooo social media world. But belonging? That can only be achieved by showing up authentically. Bravely being yourself, regardless of quirks and flaws and coolness and that is the only time true belonging can occur. You’re not any version of another person, you’re you. And you’re okay with that. And when you start to be okay with that, others around you will be too…the right people.
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