Book review: The Gifts of Imperfection

Last time I wrote about having good days and bad days, and that is it completely fine to feel down every now and then. Feeling down is part of life. After I wrote that, I remembered that I have a book called “The Gifts of Imperfections” by Dr Brené Brown. I once bought that on my way to my parents because in some odd way it spoke to me. After that it pretty much vanished into the small book compartment space I have in my room. I picked up the book once again and started reading and to my surprise it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Dr Brown is a professor at Houston where she has done research on many topics like courage, authenticity and vulnerability. The Gifts of Imperfection is all about the journey to get rid of other people’s opinions. Brown tries to show you how to let go of all of the negativity inside your own imagination and start living with the idea that you’re worthy. She shows you her own journey on this and talks about her findings and the changes she had to make herself to accomplish this. She shows you how to go from being afraid of what others think about you to thinking “I am good enough”.

Lately, I have been fighting a battle with my anxiety. It is a voluntary battle. Every single day I try to tackle at least one voice in my head and prove it wrong because I am sick of living in fear and negativity. I do this by buying those colourful sportpants while my anxiety tells me I look fat, reaching out to that person I think will abandon me, NOT reach out when my anxiety tells me the person is running away from me…you get the idea. It is in the little things you do, the small changes you make that will eventually make up the big change over time.

What Dr Brown’s book showed me is that a lot (and I emphasize ‘a lot’) of people walk around trying to please other people instead of themselves, including me. We all try to be perfect to the outside world, and the second we are not we feel ashamed about ourselves. This all leads to a very negative image of yourself. On top of that we compare ourselves to others all the time, which makes us sad as well because others always seem to do better. Now think: most people do this, most people only show the outside world what they want them to see…most people compare themselves to others and feel sad…right. Why do we do it then?! What is this stupidity?

Today I woke up with exactly that question in mind: Why do I do that? And I immediately answered: because I want to be accepted by others rather than me accepting myself. It sounds so ridiculous, and it is. I want to be my authentic self, yet I forsake myself and put myself into a mold I was not designed for. Why do I do that? I have no idea. Not a single clue. This just sneaked into my system and I would like to get rid of it.

What I am going to try is to make the choice to be my authentic self. I want to care about what I think of myself and not about what other people think about me. The only person I have to please is me, really. I will continue to wreak havoc on my anxieties and show them that the past is in the past, the future is still a mystery and the only thing I really need to care about is now. Worrying only takes the magic away from daily life and opportunities. I want to play more…do things that seem pointless. Not worry and keep on working while I am drained.

For anyone who is struggling with the same things as I am, I would recommend you read Dr Brown’s book. It is not too big: only 170 pages. It is easy to read but it gives you easy steps and lots of insights. I can’t wait to read her other books!

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