Last week I focused on a book near and dear to my heart, The Artist’s Way, and previewed a few writing prompts I gleaned from each chapter.
Today I will do the same with Brene Brown’s bestseller, The Gifts of Imperfection.
For those who might be unfamiliar with Ms. Brown’s work, she is an expert on shame research.
Shame? I thought. I don’t suffer from shame. But after reading this book (three times and counting), I discovered shame is prevalent in my life.
Brown’s simplified definition crystalizes its harmful effects:
- Guilt acknowledges poor behavior – I did something bad – and is helpful in making amends.
- Shame, on the other hand, says I am bad and prevents us from living authentic lives.
Understanding shame is instrumental to another dichotomy Brown discusses:
- Belonging means being accepted for who we are. Belonging cultivates authenticity
- Fitting in, on the other hand, means becoming someone else in order to find acceptance. Fitting in breeds shame and low-esteem.
The Gifts of Imperfection is a must-read book if you are interested in whole-hearted living and accepting who you are meant to be. The author breaks down this process into ten Guideposts for living, each one focusing on a trait we must learn to cultivate, as well as a trait we must learn to release.
A simple outline of these chapters is found below – and the prompt questions are simple:
- How can I cultivate ________ in my life? … Or put another way…
- Why do I avoid cultivating ________ in my life? In what way do I feel underserving?
- How can I release _________ in my life? …Or put another way…
- Why do I continue to hold on to ________ in my life? What purpose does it serve?
Working through these guideposts little-by-little will help bring emotional healing of a broken past and hope for a brighter future.
|Need to Cultivate…||Need to Let go….|
|What people think|
|Numbing and Powerlessness|
Gratitude and Joy
|Scarcity and Fear of the Dark|
Intuition and Trusting Faith
|Need for Certainty|
Play and Rest
|Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth|
Calm and Stillness
|Anxiety as a Lifestyle|
|Self-doubt and “Supposed to”|
Laughter, Song, and Dance
|Being Cool and Always in Control|