If you’ve been following me this year, you know I’ve been doing a Year of Discovery using a variety of books to help me reflect and recognize my patterns and learn more about myself. My second book was The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. There is a lot of meat in that book, and I do highly recommend it. Buy the paperback because you will want to underline and take some notes!
Oftentimes, when we read “self-help” books, we come away with a list of problem areas. These self-help books can be less helpful and instead pile on a list of “this needs work”. The Gifts of Imperfection was a handy mix of both. I’m thinking and working a lot on understanding Authenticity and Connection. I’m paying particular attention to when I worry about being liked instead of being enough. I want to dig deeper into a gratitude practice that works for me. I want to continue to know and respect my own boundaries. I am enough in every way and yet those are the areas that need time, attention and self-compassion.
But I also found some areas that are working well – where I embrace the “I am enough” truism in my heart more readily. Today I want to focus my journal on those “yay me” areas.
Yay Me - Resilience
In the book, Dr. Brown provides ten guideposts to what she terms “Wholehearted Living”. The third guidepost is “Cultivating a Resilient Spirit”. Before 2012, I was the least resilient person I knew. Anything could spin me into the pit. But I’ve worked hard on this area and can say resoundingly that I’m more resilient today than yesterday. Dr. Brown relays five factors of resilient people: 1) resourceful and good problem solvers, 2) likely to seek help, 3) believe I can do something to manage feelings and cope, 4) have social support, and 5) connected with others.
For me, seeking help from others has been the key to resilience. I used to believe I had to do it all, be it all. Asking for help = weakness. But not anymore. I want people to ask me for help when they need it, so I am willing to ask others for help too. We are in this life together. Let’s lean into each other.
Yay Me – Hope
Dr. Brown’s words on hope meant more to me than anything else in this entire book. She gave me a new framework and has opened an entirely HOPEFUL place in my heart and in my life.
“I was shocked to discover that hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.”
Hope is not something that some people have, and others do not. Hope is not a gift from the Godiverse. What is a gift from the Godiverse is our minds and it’s in our minds where hope blooms.
Hope is the three-pronged belief:
“I know where I want to go.
I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment, and try again.
I can do this!”
This simple yet profound belief structure has changed my life. I’ve written these words above my desk and when I begin to slide into “I am not enough” I remind myself that I do know where I want to go, I do know how to get there, and I can do it.
How To Get There
As I write today, I realized I don’t necessarily know how to get there. But look around, I have people to ask. I have mentors to guide. Someone will help me get there!
HOPE! I’m bursting with it.
Yay Me – Creativity
Even before I became a novelist (which is wholly creative), I have always dabbled in something – scrapbooking, card making, paint pouring. I will never be on the walls at the Louvre. Who cares! I have fun doing it, my family loves the scrapbooks and when it turns out bad, I love laughing at myself.
Yay Me – Play and Rest
My old self would work until 9 at night and all weekend. No more! When I realize I’m tired, I stop. I still work on the weekends sometimes but only when it feels fun and exciting. I am equally likely to be sitting on the deck, the dog in my lap, reading a trashy novel. I believe wholeheartedly that play and rest have reduced my anxious moments more than anything else.
By the way – play and rest require boundaries!
Yay Me – Meaningful Work
This one takes some real focus, but I do think what I do is meaningful. Even if I only impact one person, I have done enough. I’ve written several honest blogs about suicide, and the comments I’ve received tell me my voice is meaningful. I have a dear friend, Anne, who reads my blogs every week and last week she wrote: “The title of your blog made me smile.” She told me how she used my blog to consider ways to do her best and how she planned to share with her support group. I love that but what I love most is that I made her smile.
Making someone smile is meaningful work! Bless you, Anne and several others, for always being so supportive of me!
Yay Me – Laughter, Song and Dance
I had someone at the gym recently come up to me while I was on the treadmill and say, “I think you are having too much fun”. I had my eyes closed, listening to Prince as loud as I could. I was dancing with my arms and even singing out loud! (I mean, seriously, you have to sing out loud to Prince!)
The Gifts of Imperfection has given me several areas to consider, reflect and practice. The book has also given me confidence. I can see the areas where I am taking good care of myself, and that simply motivates me to continue to accept myself where I am and seek to make some adjustments.
Next week I’ll start Streaking!
Before you get a picture in your head, what I mean to say is that I start Streaking: The Simple Practice of Conscious, Consistent Actions that Create Life-Changing Results by Downs. I’m hoping to combine some of the practices Dr. Brown recommends into consistent action! Maybe you can too.
Would you be willing to read The Gifts of Imperfection? Or re-read it? In what areas do you need to shout, “Yay Me!”?
What can you do right now to make yourself smile, laugh and dance?
In case you didn’t know it:
YOU ARE ENOUGH IN EVERY WAY
~all quotes are from The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
Copyright 2021 June Converse, All Rights Reserved.