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June Converse

Thriving After Trauma - Author and Writing Coach

Do & Don’t & Trying Again

I am supposed to be reading Return to Love by Williamson. I tried. I promise you, I tried. But I’m not ready to wrestle my religious and spiritual beliefs. At a loss for what to do for my February/March read, Emily Aborn suggested The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené  Brown. I’ve read Brené Brown many times and find her accessible, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read another one.

I was sitting on my couch, staring towards my bookshelf. There is a shelf dedicated to unread personal growth books. Guess what was already waiting on me: The Gifts of Imperfection. Okay, I may not be ready to wrestle with God, but I can acknowledge the universe’s influence on my 2021 Personal Discovery plan. Giving in, I pulled it off the shelf.

Opening the book, I realized I’d read the first 21 pages before I put it away. Why did I give up? Should I try again? It’s a short book and I could have finished it in a few hours. So, what did Brené say that shut me down?

Since it is my Personal Discovery year, I decided to discover what my resistance was and push through the barrier. The answer was on page x. Yes, my resistance started in the prologue!

Do & Don’t

“As I started analyzing the stories and looking for re-occurring themes, I realized that the pattern generally fell into one of two columns.For simplicity sake, I first labeled these Do and Don’t.”

I’d like you to do an activity with me. All you need is a pen & paper and some honesty. Ready?

I’m going to list her Dos and Don’ts. Circle those that describe your truth, your life, your priorities.

I find myself worthy.I am a perfectionist.
I rest.I feel numb or I work to numb myself.
I play.I am uncertain.
I trust.I am exhausted.
I have faith.I am self-sufficient.
I honor my intuition.I work to fit in.
I have hope.I work to “be cool”.
I am authentic.I judge.
I love.I worry about scarcity (if this concept is new to you, dig in to other Brené Brown books).
I belong. 
I experience joy. 
I am grateful. 
I am creative. 

I assume you can tell which column is “DO” and which is “DON’T”. Needless to say, none of us are 100% DO or DON’T. I beg you not to be legalistic. You know the truth, admit it.

In 2008, this list scared me because I could circle everything in the DON’T column and very little in the DO column. The first thing I did was judge myself – “You’ll never be healthier.” “This is a waste of time.” “If everything is broken, just accept it.” “See, I told you you’re a mess.” “Really, what’s wrong with self-sufficiency and everybody who works hard is exhausted.”

By page x, I was intimidated, and I couldn’t face myself in the mirror. The work was too daunting. I closed the book after a measly 21 pages.

Thirteen Years Later

Good news and not so good news. I can circle some areas in the “Do” column and I can strike off some things in the “Don’t” column (I hope). This is what I look like today:

Find myself worthy.I am a perfectionist.
I rest.I feel numb or I work to numb myself.
I play.I am uncertain.
I trust.I am exhausted.
I have faith.I am self-sufficient.
I honor my intuition.I work to fit in.
I have hope.I work to “be cool.”
I am authentic.I judge.
I love.I worry about scarcity (if this concept is new to you, dig in to other Brené Brown books).
I belong. 
I experience joy. 
I am grateful. (not with intention) 
I am creative. 

Less daunting. Less frightening. Doable. I can work with this – at least I’m going to try.

The Breakdown: An Unraveling

“People may call what happens at midlife ‘a crisis,’ but it’s not. It’s an unraveling—a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you are ‘supposed’ to live.”

Most of you who have followed me for any length of time know I had a significant mental breakdown in 2012. I lost a lot of me and I found a lot of me too. But I haven’t found everything – hence this year of discovery.

“The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”

I am going to honor the wake-up call.

I Am Enough

On page 1 – yes, page 1--Dr. Brown writes: “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.”

I have made this into a sign, and it is on the bulletin board directly in front of my desk.

I’m going to trust Dr. Brown. But more than that, I’m going to trust the Godiverse has placed this book back in my life because it’s time for me to wake-up. I am going to be brave –

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

That’s a helluva goal.

I’m now on page 7 – I will get to page 126. I will do the activities. I will be authentic with you about my darkness and I will share my light.

Time to go read and try not to bite my nails!

All quotes are from The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW

Journal Time

Are you willing to analyze you own Dos and Don'ts? Where do you need to Try Again? In what areas do you need to embrace You Are Enough even if you don't believe it or the world tells you otherwise?

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June Converse with purple hair
Choosing to rebuild a life after a breakdown has been a challenge. I became an author and a blogger who openly shares...
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