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The Gift of Imperfection (Brene Brown)


TheGift of Imperfection (Brene Brown)

TheGift of Imperfection (Brene Brown)

Accordingto Dr. Brene Brown, every single day we face a barrage of images andmessages from both the media and society as regards to who, what, andhow we ought to live and be. Furthermore, we are led to believe thatif we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, then we wouldnot feel inadequate in any way. Dr. Brown is a social researcher whohas spent several years studying vulnerability, courage, shame, andworthiness(Brown, 2010).However, in the book, Brown presents her research on what she refersto as “Wholehearted living.” This, she prescribes, as a way oflife where sharing becomes the basis of our experience. According toher, contented people, many of whom she interviewed during herresearch lead a “Wholehearted life.” Brown argues that a happyand fulfilling life stems from living in a world in which one feelsthat they are worthy(Brown, 2010).Accordingly, Dr. Brown offers some guideposts on what one should doto achieve wholehearted living in a more fulfilling manner. Thispaper seeks to examine essential opinions presented by the book. Itfurther argues that some of the ideas proposed by the author haveimplications on my future career.


Throughthe guideposts, a reader can learn to cultivate positive attributesand do away undesirable qualities. The said guideposts give asuggestion on how to nurture and at the same eliminate differentundesirable characters. For instance, in the second guidepost, Dr.Brown encourages people to cultivate self-compassion and surrenderperfectionism. Self-compassion cultivates and allows us to embraceour imperfections. Through this, we can find our deepest gifts likecourage, connection and empathy. In the guidepost, Brown explains theneed to understand the difference between perfectionism and a freshapproach to doing one’s best(Brown, 2010).Brown emphasizes that for us to overcome fussiness, we shouldacknowledge and embrace our vulnerabilities and practiceself-compassion.

Thethird guidepost addresses the cultivation of a resilient spirit inlife and letting go of numbing and a feeling of powerlessness. Shethen describes the abilities of resilient people. These include beinghopeful, having critical awareness and surrendering distressingtendencies. Through the guideposts, Dr. Brown encourages people to betrue to themselves and seek self-worth as a way of overcomingdifficult moments and living happy and wholehearted lives. Forinstance, in her fourth guidepost, the author tells people tocultivate a spirit of gratitude and joy and letting go of fear andscarcity, especially the fear of the dark. Brown states that thoseshe interviewed who described a joyful life claimed to havecultivated an active practice of gratitude. In her sixth guidepost,she encourages people to be creative instead of making comparisonswhile her eighth guidepost tells us to let go of anxiety as alifestyle and instead be calm and still so that we can live awholehearted life(Brown, 2010).In the last post, the author emphasizes the need to letting go of theconcept of being “always in control” and instead cultivatinghappy moments like dancing, creating laughter and singing.

Anotherguidepost encouraged in the book is cultivating happiness. Brownacknowledges the fact that though every individual is bound by fearof an unpredictable future. This should not be used as a detriment totheir progress and happiness. Dr. Brown acknowledges that many issuesmay arise during an individual’s lifetime. This, in essence, causesvarious challenges most of which sap our energy and bring out thenegative traits in us. She stresses the need to turn our inadequaciesto capabilities and to tap into the positives. The scarcity ofresources and any other amenities may bring about conflict and thuslead to unhappiness, but the author notes that one may use this as astepping stone for a prosperous life.

Dr.Brown also reasons that one should desist from competition andauthenticity within and outside of us. She promotes creating aculture of independence and terms this a notion of individuality. Inorder for one to prosper, opportunities available to differentindividuals should be used wisely. In addition, creativity should beencouraged in order to develop independence. A variety of openingsare available at separate times, therefore letting go of ourinclination to compete amongst ourselves aids growth.

Theneed for intuition is a positive aspect that Dr. Brown encourages inher book. She acknowledges and explains that it is in human nature toalways crave for certainty in every situation, but this is notpossible in all circumstances. Spontaneous decisions are thereforeencouraged and trusting in our inner voice can provide the key togreater understanding of ourselves.

Playand rest are also vital for personal growth. Exhaustion plays a partin slowing personal growth, and for this to happen, we should be ableto fit into our different timetables time and space to relax and letgo. Sleep calms down the body by making it ready and energized forthe tasks ahead.

Cultivatinga nature of reason and a right attitude is also vital for personalenhancement as argued by Dr. Brown. She goes ahead and suggests thatbreathing is a way of easing the body from matters that may otherwiseslow down growth on a personal level. Stress levels should be reducedfor the body to reclaim its strength and relieve it off diseasemaking organisms.

MyPerception of the Book

Brown’sbook is not about the dos and don’ts that are presented by manyauthors who strive to make us follow a particular approach intackling situations. Some of the guideposts that she creates may berelevant to one person as opposed to another. However, I feel thatall the guideposts speak authoritatively to people in more than fiveways. Imperatively, one can apply these guideposts in more than fivespheres of their lives(Brown, 2010).For instance, I found that most of the guideposts are not onlyrelevant but authoritative to me as a dentistry student.

Onething that Dr. Brown’s book presents is a research backed byconvincing ideas and personal elements to it. Brown recounts hervulnerabilities to her readers as a woman and person and some of theguideposts that she has to struggle with at a personal level. As adentistry student, the author’s life can be understood as simple,but it connects with the world where one may be viewed as living aworthy and wholehearted life, yet they undergo painful momentsnevertheless choose to cultivate good experiences. Furthermore, theissues that Brown addresses are global or universal. For example, thedesire to fit or belong somewhere, shame perfectionism, hope,addiction and seeking for power are widespread problems andchallenges that people deal with in their lives(Brown, 2010).

Brownspeaks for many through her simple yet critical messages. At first,one may look at the guideposts as too simple and very obvious.However, a critical examination indicates the opposite(Brown, 2010). I believe that as a person, there is a lot to learn from the book.Perhaps the book is a compilation of our thoughts and feelings in aworld that seek to make us feel worthless and inadequate, especiallywhen we fail to achieve those set goals by our society.

Implicationsfor My Career

Personally,I struggle with perfectionism, partly because of my career wherebeing almost perfect is not negotiable. I abhor errors and will makeall attempts to be perfect in my work. An essential guidepost thatwill greatly influence my future as a dentist is that embracingself-compassion. The premise enables me to embrace my imperfections.

Also,I like the idea that I should not compare myself to others. I thinkthat this factor is vital in my work environment. Sometimes I tend tocompete with others. I also constantly compare myself with others. I,however, intend to embrace my capabilities in a positive way. Inareas where I fail, I will strive to improve as opposed to comparingmyself with other coworkers.

Theauthor also recommends the need for rest. Medical practitioners oftenface the challenge of busy schedules. Brown argues that play and restare also essential for personal growth. Fatigue can slowing personalgrowth, as a result, it is important to relax and let go. Itherefore intend to take time off the busy schedule. I am passionateabout my work, however, I will take some time off.

Dr.Brown also recommends that there is need to adopt resilience. Herperspectives involves encouraging people to be true to themselves. Infuture, I will embrace the author’s approach of cultivatingresilience. In the event that failure or a negative experiencesemerge, I will ensure that I perceive the episodes using a realisticviewpoint. In addition, I willnot give up even in the midst ofchallenges.


Whatmakes the book an incredible source for anyone who seeks to live acomplete life is a personal experience by the author that is infusedwith her commanding research. Through the interviews that Brownconducted, she got more personal experiences that add moreinformation for all who wish to make it in life. What the bookabhors is what a majority of us strive to achieve but in the end failto live a fulfilling life. I believe that the ideas proposed by theauthor are relevant and have positive implications on my futurecareer.


Brown,B. (2010). TheGift of Imperfection. Centre City.Minnesota: Hazelden