Book Review: The Gifts of Imperfection

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

Even the most successful and self-assured of us is guilty of self-doubt. That’s why Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection resonates so well with readers.

Dr Brown is a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging. She has done a decade of research on Wholehearted living. Wholehearted living means putting our best foot forward to lead a meaningful and productive life, and retiring to bed at the end 0f the day feeling satisfied and worthy, even if the day’s work isn’t up to your expectations. Learning to accept and live with imperfection, in a nut shell. For many of us, this is easier said than done. But Dr Brown effectively changes readers’ perspectives by relabeling attitudes and experiences that are often the culprit of us sabotaging an otherwise satisfactory lifestyle.

The book is divided into ten guideposts, aimed at helping readers to identify and hopefully let go of unhealthy ideas, and instead, replace them with encouraging, motivating ones. Each guidepost is different; t ere is one about cultivating self-compassion, one on cultivating play and rest, another on cultivating meaningful work, and so on. How relevant each one is to the reader would depend on the individual, but the issues addressed are universal and could be relevant in helping readers to empathise with others.

Dr Brown backs her words with scientific research, which makes the reading material reassuring and credible. She also puts herself in the book, describing the vulnerabilities that she struggles with as a person, and a woman, allowing readers to relate. One reader suffers from Dermatillomania, a skin-picking disorder that was damaging on her emotional health and physical appearance. Despite making substantial progress in her treatment, she would blame herself after each relapse. The constant pressure caused her to keep picking her skin and make the condition worse. She revealed that this book has helped her to feel worthy and take pride in the progress she is making, and to be less hard on herself. She has been recommending it to the patients in her support group.

This book is slim and makes an easy and efficient read. In a high-pressure society, it is important to learn to be compassionate to oneself, and in turn, others around you, and this book hits just the right spot.

– This book review first appeared in a lifestyle magazine.