The gifts of imperfection

This book has changed my life.

That’s strong stuff, but that is how I feel about it.

Its a small book, (about 4 hours on audible) and its written by Brene Brown. I started trying to read it some time ago, but I found it almost overwhelming and couldn’t get past the first chapter. Now I’m in a better place I have been listening to it on audible… several times.

The basic themes are that

  • we are all imperfect and many of us struggle to be perfect
  • by trying to ‘fit in’ and be seen as perfect we don’t ask for help or allow our true selves to be seen
  • If we can have the courage to reach out and ask for help / share our struggles, we will encourage deeper connections
  • by recognizing our own struggles and being compassionate and loving to ourselves, we develop compassion for others
  • Connection, compassion and belonging (not the same as fitting in) brings us deep and meaningful contentment which we can share with others.

It’s all very obvious, but also very profound.

Falling out from this is the realisation that wholehearted living, loving and compassion are actions not a static state; that by actively striving and seeking everyday to treat ourselves with love, and nurture our own inner, imperfect selves, we are better able to overcome shame, disappointment, fear, anger and frustration; better able to parent, work and build relationships, which is, after all, the most important part of all of our lives.

This chimes with everything I have been discovering on my sobriety journey, everything that has changed and developed in the last 780 days. The courage to address so many things I have been ashamed of, to name them, share them and learn to accept them, the forgiveness of myself for all my many mistakes and the active process of developing authentic loving relationships based on honesty and compassion. The latest courageous decision – to attend AA meetings, despite my apprehension and fear, has been rewarded 100 fold by the acceptance, genuine affection and support I have received from my peers.

This is still a work in progress, there is much more practice and reflection to work through, but I do truly feel that my eyes have been opened to a new world; a world where I value myself, treat myself with the kindness I would show to others and accept my own imperfections and mistakes, not as shameful stains that make me unworthy of love and acceptance, but as knots worn into a tapestry of personality, that are as integral to the beauty of the whole as the perfect stitches that surround them.

There is a great quote in the book

”Β She could never go back and make some of the details pretty, all she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful”Β  Β Terri St Cloud.

I love that, It gives me great solace, hope, and peace.

imperfection 2

 

 


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