We all have some sort of skeleton hanging in our closet, those things we are embarrassed for the world to see or know about us. Dr. Brené Brown was no different as she began her study of guilt and shame. Several years into her research journey she realized that it was her skeletons that were holding her back. Her discovery was in the commonalities amongst the individuals she was interviewing. Those that had chosen to live life with their whole hearts had what amounted to 10 things or “guideposts” in common. This discovery was what sent Dr. Brown into what she called her “breakdown spiritual awakening.”
In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Dr. Brown shares her own personal discovery and growth as she has learned to embrace her imperfections as gifts rather than inadequacies. Her eye-opening approach clearly defines common words with new and applicable meanings that invite wholehearted living.
Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It is going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging. (Brené Brown)
The 10 Guideposts that she outlines in her book are characteristics to cultivate while letting go of the anxiety and stress of trying to be perfect. Of the 10 guideposts, the most difficult for me to embrace was play. I’m not known as the fun parent: I take responsibility and seriousness to a whole new level. Learning to be okay with “non-productive” time is somewhat foreign to me. I’m finding this guidepost helpful in discovering the value of playing. It’s a work in progress.
If you are searching for choices that will bring greater wisdom and wholehearted living I would suggest checking this book out. I’ve included a few of my favorite acronyms as well as the guideposts below. The Gifts of Imperfection helped me see what my new normal is and realize I’m not too far off.
What are your imperfections and how do you embrace them?
What’s the stumbling block that’s keeping you from living wholeheartedly?
Will you allow life to teach you or defeat you?
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Vowel Check AEIOUY
|A||Have I been Abstinent today? (However, you define that— food, work, computer)|
|I||What have I done for myself today?|
|E||Have I Exercised today?|
|O||What have I done for Others today?|
|U||Am I holding on to Unexpressed emotions today?|
|Y||Yeah! What is something good that’s happened today?|
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