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Shame and wholehearted living

In The Gifts of Imperfection, shame researcher Dr. Brene Brown says there are 3 things we need to know about shame. Everybody has it [except those with no capacity for empathy or connection]. We’re all afraid to talk about it. And the less we talk about it, the more control we give it in our lives. She’s right, of course, and fortunately, she’s talking about it in ways that give the rest of us permission to do the same.

So if you want to trade your own struggles with shame for what Brene calls “a wholehearted life,” then buy or borrow this book. It’s anchored in cultivating courage, compassion, and connection, not as lofty ideals but as

daily practices. Toward that end, she offers up ten “guideposts” for wholehearted living. Each encourages us to let go of some way of being that holds us back [like perfectionism, scarcity thinking, comparison, self doubt …] and to cultivate instead the qualities that help us become shame resilient: self-compassion, gratitude and joy, creativity, meaningful work …..

She writes in a light and spirited tone, translating her research findings into wonderful stories from her own life that left me feeling like I was in conversation with a close friend and that reminded me of how important this inner work is.

As she says at the end, this isn’t a self-help book so much as “an invitation to join a Wholehearted revolution. … Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You’re going to confuse, piss off, and terrify lots of people–including yourself. One minute you’ll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends.” Enough said. If you’re ready to embrace all of who and how you are, you’ll find lots of ways to practice it in the pages of this book.