Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Gifts of Imperfection

Some of you may recall that I first read Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection several years ago and shared a short review here on my blog. This month I re-read it because it was the January selection for the new Simple Scrapper Book Club.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book again and marked quite a few passages that I wanted to review and/or thought would be relevant to the book club discussion. As usual, Jennifer Wilson led a very organized discussion about the book in the Simple Scrapper chat room. The book club is designed "to share ideas at the intersection of intentional living and scrapbooking." Jennifer shared a quote from the book, followed by a question relating it to memory keeping, then a discussion followed. I really liked this format as we went through the six items, although I have to admit that I think we sometimes get a little too serious about the whole scrapbooking/memory keeping hobby.

My favorite question from the discussion was: "Is scrapbooking a gratitude practice for you?" While I've never thought about it like that, I do believe that scrapbooking is one way that I can express my gratitude for the events and stories and people in my life as I relive the memories I preserve on my layouts.

My first thought on relating this book to memory keeping was that the subtitle could be changed to: "Let your scrapbook pages reflect who you are, not who you think you're supposed to be!"

Here's a little review of some of the other things that I marked during this read through of the book:

The author mentions several times about how we need to "own our story" - this is a theme that keeps coming up for me lately as I'm currently slowly re-reading and contemplating the Own Your Life book by Sally Clarkson that I read (and reviewed HERE) last year. Brene Brown shares that "owning our stories and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do."

The book is based on research into how to live a Wholehearted Life, which requires us to understand ourselves and love ourselves and believe that we are worthy of love and belonging. This includes having the courage to let go of what others think, being authentic, and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. She also says that a "critically important component of wholehearted living is play!"

People who live a Wholehearted Life DIG deep, which means that they are (D) deliberate, (I) inspired, and (G) going or taking action. The Wholehearted Life requires courage (letting go of what others think), compassion (which includes setting boundaries and saying no), and connection (after first cultivating self acceptance).

Here are some of my favorite thought-provoking quotes from the book:

Both joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices  that were bound to a belief in human interconnectedness and a power greater than us.

Comparison is all about conformity and competition.

If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing - it doesn't matter. As long as we're creating, we're cultivating meaning.

Most of us who are searching for spiritual connection spend too much time looking up at the sky and wondering why God lives so far away. God lives
within us, not above us. Sharing our gifts and talents with the world is the most powerful source of connection with God.

The author also shared quotes from others throughout the book - these are my two favorites:

Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you've never been hurt
and live like it's heaven on Earth. 
~Mark Twain
People are like stained-glass windows. 
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed
only if there is a light from within.
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Have you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. I've not read this book but having read your review here and your one from last year I think I will put it in my 'to read' list :)

  2. No, I've not read the book, but I loved reading your review and lots of what you talked about resonated with me.

  3. I have read the book for book club but missed the chat. So many things in this book I resonated to. I could see myself reading this every few years to stay focus and on track.

  4. I have read the book and recommended it a number of times. I think it is the best of Brene's books! Sorry I had to miss the chat, but knowing that it is an organized event, I may try a little harder for the next one. I completely agree with your comment that our scrapbooks should reflect our real lives, not our fantasy ones. I have very intentionally scrapbooked some of the harder moments - like dealing with Becca's heartache or learning to live with fibromyalgia. I think it is important that my children see that I have struggled too and learn by my example that it is possible to deal and overcome.

  5. I haven't read this one but I did enjoy reading your thoughts. I agree with your note near the top that sometimes scrapbooking can be over-thought. Sometimes I think it does make me grateful, other times it's nothing more complicated than my enjoyment of cutting up paper

  6. I have read it a couple of times and was sorry when the chat moved from a time I could have made it to 3am! Glad it was good and I plan on reading through the transcripts (and have moved that up the priority with your review).

    Will you review next month's book as well?

  7. What an absoulty fabulous review. I certainly want to add it to my reading list. I have to say for me scrapbooking is something I enjoy, and its purely for the fun of it. I try not to over think it xx

  8. A lot of wisdom in this book and review.

  9. This is one my reading list. Loved hearing your thoughts, and that last quote is a keeper!


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