Researcher, thought leader, and New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown offers a liberating study on the importance of our imperfections—both to our relationships and to our own sense of self
The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how we’re supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection.
Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, is the leading authority on the power of vulnerability, and has inspired thousands through her top-selling books Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and The Gifts of Imperfection, her wildly popular TEDx talks, and a PBS special. Based on seven years of her ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we’re all in this together.
Brown writes, “We need our lives back. It’s time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection—the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. These are the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives.”
University of Houston researcher and social worker Brown believes shame underlies the spread of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and much more, and drawing on a study of hundreds of women, she constructs a method for overcoming it. Brown defines shame as "the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging" and believes its spread has been created by conflicting and competing expectations about who women should be. Women feel shame about their appearance, about motherhood, family, money/work, health, stereotypes and trauma. Brown quotes liberally from the women she has studied and, most enlighteningly, gives examples from her own experiences juggling motherhood, career and her social life. These revelations underscore her belief in the importance of exposing shame and, through empathy, helping oneself and others move past it. She underscores the need to practice critical awareness, i.e., understanding the social forces that create shame in us can help us fight the sense of shame. Thus, Brown presents a spirited attack on the media and the beauty industry for presenting unrealistic images of women. Directing readers to focus on personal growth as opposed to unattainable perfection, Brown urges them to practice shame-resilience skills and teach them to their children.