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Gifts of Imperfection: Q&A #1

UPDATE: Here are links to the second and third discussions of The Gifts of Imperfection:
Discussion #2
Discussion #3

Welcome to the first virtual meeting of our book club to discuss The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown! (If you don’t know what’s going on around here, read this post and visit Brené’s web site.)

I’ve been enjoying the book so much — so many great ideas and a-ha moments. If we were all sitting together in my living room, I’d ask you some questions to get the ball rolling. I’ve shared a few of my thoughts below, but didn’t want to chime in too strongly until y’all have a chance to speak from our hearts. Take a look at the questions below and share your thoughts in comments. Don’t feel pressure to answer all the questions; feel free to respond to the ones that inspire you — and be sure to add questions of your own if the spirit moves.

Our Discussion

1. Generally, how do you feel about what you’ve read so far?
Is it challenging your beliefs? Echoing them? Did you find anything surprising?

2. In the preface (page xiii), Brené wrote:
I learned how to worry more about how I felt and less about “what people might think.” I was setting new boundaries and began to let go of my need to please, perform and perfect. I started saying no rather than sure (and being resentful and pissed off later). I began to say “Oh, hell yes!” rather than “Sounds fun, but I have lots of work to do” or “I’ll do that when I’m __________ (thinner, less busy, better prepared).”

Wow! I could really relate to that… When I was the Marketing Director for the Texas Rollergirls, Roller Derby was  an (unpaid) full-time job that I juggled in addition to a paying full-time writing job, and all the usual household/life responsibilities. But as busy as I was, if someone asked me to do something social or to take on a little extra work, the pleaser in me wanted to say “yes.” Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t doing anyone any favors be behaving that way. I needed to learn to say “no.” I typed the letters N O in a big, bold font, and taped them on the wall in my eyeline from my desk chair — and I slowly learned how to say “no” in a way that sounded more like “not right now” so the people on the other end could hear it without having their own reaction. I still have to remind myself to do that sometimes, but it gets easier.

What about you? When or with whom are you most likely to say “yes” when you mean “no”? Does that turn into resentment or blame? What would it take for you to practice “no”?

3. On page 4, Brené discusses the notion of digging deep.
Is it your habit to “Dig Deep” or DIG Deep?

4. The discussion of “ordinary courage” on page 13 also really resonated with me.
In 2010, I experienced a crisis in my life that brought me to my knees. For real. I literally collapsed to the floor in tears on more than once occasion. Until then, I had enjoyed a relatively grief-free life, but in just a few minutes one day, that changed. At the time, I couldn’t see any upside to the experience. But now, I’m grateful that I learned to be vulnerable and to practice “ordinary courage” as Brene describes it. Don’t get me wrong: it was hideous to go through, but I feel like a more valuable person now because I know the dark, I live in the light, and now I can be compassionate toward — and maybe help others — who are stuck in shadows.

Can you think of a time when you practiced ordinary courage? How did it feel?

5. Related to number 4, have you experienced the ripple effect of courage? What happened? How were you affected? (See page 15.)

6. In the book, Brene writes, “Shame loves secrecy.”
The truth of that knocked me on my ass! One of the things I’ve noticed in the last 10 years or so is that I respond really well to other people who are willing to share their “shameful” secrets: their true body weight; a struggle with drugs, alcohol, or food; those everyday things that move beyond “embarrassment” to shame. By bringing those things out of the dark, we remove their power and free ourselves and others to talk about them.

What do you think about this? Have ever shared something you considered shameful? How did you feel — and what was the reaction of others?

 

Hit the comments and let us know what you think!

Future MeetingsPages 1-48 (intro to the beginning of Guidepost #1) – Monday, February 13 – DONE!
Pages 48-85 (Guidepost #1 though Guidepost #4)– Monday, February 20
Pages 86-130 (Guidepost #5 throrugh the end)– Monday, February 27If you’re new here, you’re welcome to join us! Just get a copy of The Gifts of Imperfection and chime in on the discussion anytime!

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25 Responses to “Gifts of Imperfection: Q&A #1”

  1. Val Rosile says:

    I have read, re-read, and gifted this book for the past two years. Brene Brown is brilliant and reading I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) is equally life changing.

    That said, when Brene said “shame loves secrecy” I was like, “Woah, momma.” Brene taught me to be vulnerable and share the real me, stains and all, and it has brought me to more self-love and, in turn, love from others.

    When I read this my list of “shameful” secrets seemed unending: a young divorce, a near job loss, the passing of my mother, my fear of the unknown, a deep-seated internal self-doubt. All of my secrets flooded in and I realized that they were secrets because I was ashamed of them. When I realized that I just need to get the eff over it and know I’m not alone (duh, lots of people get divorced and have dead moms – I’m not so special) I was able to embrace what I’ve been through, recognize it as HUGE, and set it free! Game changing.

    This change sparked in me the ability to find the thing that needs to be set free in others, give them the power to be vulnerable (because vulnerability takes great power), and unlock the true self in the people around me.

  2. pamela says:

    I sometimes think I have an “open mouth, insert foot” button. I’ve never thought of it as courageous, more like stupid, but after reading these sections, I’ve begun wondering if it was some kind of instinct. I tell the most shameful things, though not always in the constructive way she advises. While reading the list of people not to share shameful events with, I could recognize people I turn to in almost every one. I do believe she is right though about how once you’re aware, there’s no pretending or going back. At least it seems that way right now. I am very much aware of these things at the moment.

  3. pamela says:

    Thinking, too, about saying “yes” when you want to say “no” makes me shudder. I have done that so much of my life. I seriously don’t think I thought I could say “no” and survive. Unfortunately, when I finally started to do that, I was not very gracious. I think I was probably pissed that I now had to be rude, which was how I viewed not complying to everyone’s wishes. My responses were rude, though they needn’t have been. I think, or at least I hope, I’m slowly getting better at saying “no” without biting someone’s head off or making myself sound like a real ass.

    • Jeni says:

      Yes! I have yet to start working on saying NO too. But I know exactly what you mean! I feel like it’s rude to say it and I feel so resentful for someone else putting me in the position of either having to do something I don’t want to do or be rude.

      I do realize that it’s all in the way that I look at it now and I’m hoping this book will help me learn to work my way out of a corner more gracefully in the future.

  4. Jeanye says:

    I discovered Brene Brown just a few weeks ago with the TED talk video on vulnerability. I was excited at the thought of reading her book and discussing it with you!

    I like to believe that I live my life wholeheartedly. I have experienced the gift of workikng with a fantastic therapist/coach for many years now who taught me early on how much responsibility I have in creating a life rather than believing that life was just happening to me.

    I am a counselor and a coach myself. and a wife and mom (to grown children) and friend and sister… And most days I feel compassionate and connected and courageous.

    However, the current life line in my story could be “Menopause makes me a raving lunatic!” Ok. really it’s not that bad. at least not from the outside looking in. From the inside looking out it’s terrifying.

    And I guarantee you that it takes vulnerability to be able to admit that my body is going through this process. I live a Paleo lifestyle supported with CrossFit and yoga and rest and prayer and spirituality… And yet I find myself feeling a bit out of control at some point just about everyday!

    Seeking perfection at this stage in the game of life is at the same time maddening and completely humorous! Being kind to myself is a must – as is being willing to forgive myself when I’m not.

    I love this quote from the book, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

    Here’s to courage!

  5. Lily says:

    This book compliments what I have been working on over the past year. I have been setting limits at work and remembering what’s the most important thing to me- my family. On the flip side, even though my family is important to me, I also recognize that sometimes I need to say no in that regard too. I voluntarily teach a cooking class at my daughter’s preschool every Monday afternoon but a few Mondays ago I just wasn’t feeling up to it and took a Monday off. This year I have also said no to my parents more and it has felt scary to put my own family (husband and daughter) first but I know that sometimes we need a little time alone.

    The shame love secrecy part blew me away! During my childhood/early adulthood I felt such shame and thought I was the only one engaging in certain behavior or thinking certain thoughts. The best part about becoming an adult is telling my secrets and finding that my shame goes away (and my friends and family don’t). The relief I feel when I am able to share my shameful feelings has been such a huge part of my life that it has shaped my career. As a school psychologist, I hope that my students feel that I accept them and will never judge them no matter what their thoughts or actions are. I feel lucky when a student says, “I’ve never told anyone this before…”

  6. Scott says:

    I may very well have to get this book. Very interesting topic and discussion.

  7. Jess says:

    The part that resonated most with me was the part about worthiness not having a prerequisite. It’s been such a challenge for me to feel worthy and I tend to create that list of worthiness prerequisites.

  8. Tricia says:

    This part of the book effected me a lot. I’m a typical oldest child. I think I need to be the responsible one; the strong one. I keep a lot inside from my family. I have a secret that I have been keeping for years. Its been eating at me and I know it has been effecting all parts of my life. I’ve been afraid to share it, but at the same time, I know I have to because I see what is doing to me. It was not an easy section for me to read, but at the same time, it gave me some hope.

  9. Hope says:

    I am realizing that I have never been clear about the distinction between guilt and shame, which is obviously REALLY important. I understand, intellectually, that guilt is about specific ACTiONS, while shame is the core generalized feeling of being unworthy and “bad. ” I can see that shame is a response to guilt — that guilt often leads to shame… and shame compounds and takes on a life of its own. Without definition, it can (and usually does) become an amorphous miasma of crushing self recrimination. But to me, the lines are blurred and I need to do a lot more thinking and “sorting” about this… before I am capable of true self-acceptance.

  10. Jamie says:

    1. I remember when I first saw Brene Brown on the TED video. If I were in a movie, there’d be a change in music and close up on me. It FELT like my world shifted. In a good way, albeit a challenging one. Reading this book, bit by bit, it happens constantly. Like my world is shifting….side to side….settling in….and every word is feeding me. This may sound poetic or corny….but it is chipping at me. I WANT it to sink in. I could highlight everything. I tear up. It truly resonates with me.
    2. I need to notice this yes when I mean no more. I almost think my problem is more internal….I should on myself…push myself. I am not sure I currently say yes when I want to say no much….but maybe it is so automatic, I don’t realize it. I have been guilty of this in the past though.
    3. I’ve definitely been hitting the dig deep button, rather than intentionally DIGging deep. This one will take some practice.
    4. Yes, I can think of a few times when I practiced ordinary courage. UNFORTUNATELY, it was out of desperation. I wanted help and healing so badly, I just put myself out there…it wasn’t intentional and looking back I struggle with how vulnerable I made myself. I am trying to reframe how I look at it. It really was courageous, in a way, and I need to find that courage again in smaller ways, too.
    5. Perhaps this is the difference….the ordinary courage I talked about in #4 seemed to scare the crap out of people. I do think there were a few who appreciated me and the courage I showed, but there were some who seemed scared of it. I think they felt the expectation to put themselves equally out there. And Lord knows I would have appreciated some shared vulnerability.
    6. Ya know, there was a time in my life where I had a problem lying. I made up some big and weird stuff. I was thinking about this the other day. I wanted love and belonging (and perhaps attention). I went about it in this way…ironically, the stuff I was making up was hiding some other stuff that would have gotten me the attention I was seeking. As I was conversing with myself about this…I realized (sadly) that I didn’t want the other stuff to be my story. I wanted ANY story (twisted, wild, sick didn’t matter) other than my own. This is SHAME, the embodiment of it. So, I take small steps and own my story….MY STORY…. (and with ordinary courage, I hit the submit button to share with others this humongous comment)

  11. Michele says:

    I have spent the past year working on who I am and what makes me happy and learning to stop doing everything for others and ignoring myself and where to go from here. I have been trying to do it all on my own and reading all different books and just living my life the one day at a time (trying to anyway). Thoughts flip flop through my head all the time. I change my mind once I’ve worked through issues. I only just found this book and I think it’s amazing and every little bit hits home.
    The thoughts that just went through my head now after reading through the comments and thinking about what I’ve done and read so far is:

    I wonder how I would have handled the past year IF I had found this book first? Would it have changed anything for me? Would I still have had to go through my experiences in the way I did, in order to come out the other end? Or would this book have made a difference earlier on . . . . food for thought :-)

  12. Elizabeth says:

    How many pages are in the book? About how many pages are each chapter and how many chapters?
    I’m thinking of downloading this on my kindle tomorrow. While the topic doesn’t seem to be something I’m currently struggling with it could be that I’m just not aware of it. I’d like to join the book club.
    Also, when is the next posting? Are you doing 1 chapter a week?
    Thanks, Mel

    • Mel says:

      The book is about 130 pages. Here’s the info about future meetings. We’re doing chunks every week.

      Pages 1-48 (intro to the beginning of Guidepost #1) – Monday, February 13 – DONE!

      Pages 48-85 (Guidepost #1 though Guidepost #4)– Monday, February 20

      Pages 86-130 (Guidepost #5 throrugh the end) – Monday, February 27

  13. Dania R. says:

    Wow. I’m loving this. I have so many highlight flags sticking out of my book already, I don’t know where to start…

    1) This book has come at a really good time. So far, many of the concepts are lessons that I’ve been gradually coming to terms with this past year. The last paragraph on page 6 (I’m the paper and ink girl) “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

    Holy crap, fellow readers. Was I the only one that had her breath taken away by this? What an enlightening insight. I have a big fat star next to this one – and can’t thank the author enough. What a way to start the book.

    2) The saying yes when needing or meaning to say no… a lesson I was blessed enough to be taught by mom a long time ago. I remember watching her go through her own struggles and being told she needed to pay attention to her own self, her own needs… this resonated with me at a very young age and something I try to practice to this day. To not feel guilty for putting myself first. To not create a situation where I may feel awful about or resentful toward people I care about.

    3) This was the first highlight flag of the book. And a great way to think about purposeful actions. I don’t DIG deep. I want to. And I look forward to getting better at it as we continue to read and discuss. All part of the journey, right?

    4) – 5) I can’t really answer the questions, but can only point out one of the quotes that I am personally still stuck on… and struggle with all the time. Daily. Last paragraph – page 20. “Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” I’ve always tried to be a generous giving person. Helping when I can. But I’ve never been open to receiving any assistance in any capacity. In fact, I hate it. It makes me feel weak and incapable. Two feelings that have never sat well with me. And after reading those few sentences… is it possible that I am viewing those that I help as weak and incapable? A hard thought to process. And one that makes me feel kind of crummy… to have placed that type of judgment on others and on myself.

    6) I am still paralyzed by this concept. Brené indicates that shame needs three things to grow out of control in our lives – secrecy, silence, and judgment. For me, I think the self-judgment creates a larger fear of being judged by others… resulting in the secrecy and the silence. I’m stuck here. About a few things in life. I’m not sure this was addressed in the book – at what point do we build up so much guilt, that it eventually turns to shame? Or when do we cross a line from feeling guilty to being shameful?

  14. Amy says:

    I am enjoying this book. I feel like I am already learning tools to change how I am and how I deal with things in my day to day life. Thank you for facilitating this reading and discussion with your followers.

    I went through a period a few years back (I call it my midlife crisis) where I was sick and tired of being everything for everyone. I had lost touch with who I was and who I wanted to be. I had given, and sacrificed, and given some more…and I was at the end of my rope. I was a wife, mother, employee, child, girl scout leader, friend, student, chauffer, chef, housekeeper, etc. I had had it, and I was done…I regrouped my brain, let my hair down in some not so healthy or productive ways and came to grips with the fact that I enjoyed being a wife, mother, employee, child, girl scout leader, friend, student, chauffer, chef, and housekeeper. Well maybe not really on a few of those.

    I tend to say yes more often then I should. Just yesterday I found myself offering help to someone with their wedding in 3 weeks (that I am not invited to). And today I am realizing that I just don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to this. I will help anyone or give anyone the shirt off my back. Old enemy, sure thing…just met you, absolutely.

    It is not in my habit to DIG Deep…guess I need to work on that!

    Ordinary courage…raising two children as a single mother, picking up the pieces and moving on when my ex walked out the day after Christmas for another woman. I am a survivor…I have had to adjust to make life work more times than not in my adult life.

    Ripple effect of courage. I think girlfriends (close girlfriends that is) can attest to this. You are sitting around and one is brave enough to mention something not so good that is going on in their life, and then that leads to the group opening up and sharing. I have been a part of this. Not sure where I was in the line of conversation, but I will usually be one of the first to admit that my life is NOT perfect.

    One of my most “shameful” things to share is that I had my daughter when I was 15 years old. For a split second I feel a tinge of shame when I share that with someone new…but then I dawns on me. I have a BEAUTIFUL daughter that I have given everything up for and raised into outstanding young woman…why should I feel shame. Yea…I did it backwards or “wrong”, but I have zero regrets. Most people are shocked that I had a child so young, but they really can’t say anything about it. Thanks to the support of my family, my children and I have been successful. Maybe people feel shame for their actions because they expect others to judge them? OWN it, embrace it for what it is, and move on.

    I am pretty much an open book to 99% of those that know me. My past is what it is…I can’t change it. I can only move forward. There are moments in my past that I am not proud of, but again, I can’t change it now. My fiancé knows a few things about my past, but even he doesn’t know ALL of it. And what I love about him is he doesn’t seem to care. He loves me for who I am today. I love the quote “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future”…not sure where I first heard it, but it is great!

  15. Meredith says:

    1. I am really liking this book so far. The writing is so honest. I am definitely Kindle-highlighting interesting points.

    The ones I have so far are: “…every day was a walk through a gauntlet of gremlins… ‘What if I think I’m enough, but others don’t?’” – this one I face all the time when considering the option of cutting myself a little slack from time to time. I get afraid that maybe I’ll think I’m too great or something and others will be like, “why’s she so okay with herself? Her ___(insert noun)___ is too ___(insert negative adjective)__”.

    Also, the entire bulletpointed section on perfectionism (Kindle location 1039) — is highlighted! Perfectionism and shame are so related, I am learning, as a hardcore perfectionist. And it is a vicious cycle.

    2. To be completely honest, I am not so bad at saying no. The quote resonated more with me in terms of the fact that I say no when I should say yes! I say, “I’ll do it when I’m thinner” (generally, it’s this, if I’m being truthful) when I probably should be okay with doing whatever it is (hanging out with friends on a hot day aka shorts required, etc) just the way I am.

    3. I am a big dig-deeper. I am really having to practice my DIG. But that is such a powerful, simple method…

    5. I have to think more about (4), so jumping to (5) — this resonated big time for me. Courage in being good to myself, mostly. And the big word for me here is “momentum”. My therapist introduced me to this word a couple of weeks ago… how doing the right thing (eating well, for example) — is a self-fulfilling thing. The more you do it, the more you do it. Same with practicing self-love. Momentum.

    6. Shame does love secrecy. It’s easier to feel shame when you don’t tell anyone. I learned this as a child… when I felt like I did something wrong, I had to confess to someone, then it felt more okay. I learned I could do this with my mom. The easiest one to remember as a child is when I walked up to a mannequin in a department store, touched the tip of it’s shoe (it was the kind with the squishy gel that changed colors when you touched it), and telling my dad, “ugh, I hate these!” He quickly (gently) pulled me aside and said, “that wasn’t nice, that girl probably likes those!” Turns out it wasn’t a mannequin… it was a little girl about my age (probably 8 or so.) OOPS! I felt SO bad, and remember feeling bad for years! I told my mom when I was about 12. That was how I learned.

    Anyway I digress. A couple of years ago I had a serious talk with my mom that when I shared things with her (e.g. less than good decisions, etc), I needed her to listen and not judge. And since then, she has done just that. Even now, even with things like, “I just binged on pistachios” — she tells me things like that everyone has those moments, and just don’t do it tomorrow, remember how you feel, etc.. and it makes me feel like I MADE a mistake, not that I AM bad. Unfortunately, others aren’t always so supportive, and this echoes what the author says about finding special people you can share with. Pistachio binge happened the other day, and I told a relatively new girlfriend about it, and she just kind of said “oh…”. Luckily I had the resilience to shrug it off. It was good to read that the author recognizes that it takes someone special to create a sacred space in which one can share.

    Already started on the next guidepost. Loving this read. And, my therapist approves :)

  16. Dania R. says:

    Meredith -

    Momentum. What a great word. And so true! I’ve noticed that through different experiences… with projects at work, weight-loss, exercise. But it always seems at some point SOMETHING out there derails me and I spend too much time fretting than building the momentum back up quickly. I always think of each event like a giant boulder… nearly impossible to get moving from a dead stop, but once it is rolling – it is much easier to keep it rolling and push it to go faster.

    Thanks for your comment. I’m writing MOMENTUM on a piece of paper and hanging it on my fridge as soon as I click Submit.

  17. Ashlee says:

    1. Generally – hell yes this book is challenging my beliefs….(but I say this and have noticed the points challenging me seem to be a bit different from everyone who has posted). The part that really resonated with me was how Brene described herself on page xiv – “I’ll tell the story of how a cynical, smart-ass academic became every bit of the stereotype that she spent her entire adult life ridiculing.” That is totally me, minus the extensive adult life (I mean I am ONLY 28). Even though I’m still young I have already spent a decent length of time being that same person as she just described. I’m not into the touchy-feely, hippy, life-loving b.s. that gets spread around. I’m skeptical and sarcastic and I roll my eyes a lot. So in the journal I am keeping while reading this book, I specifically wrote down that I am going to open my mind to these ideas and wholeheartedly consider anything and everything I read. I think this was easier to do in reading this book because it’s obvious the author has done so as well.

    2. Ummmmm, I must just be a b*tch because I say no whenever I want….lol But, in all seriousness, I do the things I want to, I realize which things are the things I need to and I try to avoid the things I don’t have to do. I’ve always felt that if my friends and family can’t understand that then they aren’t very good friends and family. (Which of course, they always have been understanding)

    3. Ohhhhhhh, this new notion of DIG Deep was awesome! I put it up on a post-it note on my desk. I’m trying to prevent soul-sucking from happening at work – which includes rethinking current career placement and other opportunities and possibilities (some a bit daring – but hey, what’s the worst that can happen??).

    4. A lot of times I find myself saying things that I think that most people wouldn’t. Most of my friends know I’m outspoken about what I am passionate about. So why am I not outspoken about my feeeeeeeeelings. I don’t mean anger or hate. I mean love. I mean that I will absolutely clam up and die of not breathing than “courageously make myself vulnerable” by telling someone I looooove them. Ridiculous…I tell myself. Just say it. Just tell them. Well I can’t exactly work on this one right now, as I’ve recently exited a relationship, but it does scare me to have to think about working on that one in the future.

    5. I’m hoping that ripple effect happens. Otherwise, hasn’t yet.

    6. I think shame does love secrecy but it is amazing the connection you feel to someone you may barely know when you share shame on both sides. Without wandering around telling random people about what I consider shameful things, I want to try an experiment in my life to assertive try to make that connection with more people. I want to develop my level of compassion for and with others and not my empathy.

  18. Faith says:

    So excited my Amazon shipment finally arrived so I could fly through the first section and join the discussion!

    1. I am loving what I have read so far! It’s always so interesting to me how the lessons in life I really need to learn seem to echo/layer throughout books, conversations, etc. in so many different parts of my life. Just the image of Wholehearted living alone really makes me smile and gives me a “goal” in life to reach toward that feels normal and not just like a huge bucket-list of [somewhat] meaningless accomplishments.

    2. I have become more comfortable with saying “no” once I’ve realized what my priorities are in life and seeing how my time and money do or do not reflect those priorities. Just as we would budget our time, I recently made an excel spreadsheet of how I spend my time and “budgeted” the percentages of different categories. It’s so much easier for me to say “no” to something when I have a visual reminder of what that impact is going to be on the rest of my day/week. I was shocked to see how small a percentage of “working out” was in the scope of our entire week (the beau and I are training for a 1/2 marathon in 5 weeks!), yet how large a portion our sleep category was (yay!) Saying “no” isn’t so hard if you know what those priorities are.

    3. Definitely a new way of looking at pushing through something difficult. I’d say I probably practice DIGging deep about 50% of the time, but most often after digging deep I think to myself, “why did I just do that? It could have been so much more productive mentally if I’d gone about it another way.”

    4. Ordinary Courage came for me recently in our 1/2 marathon training. The beau and I were starting our mornings off early in our training running together and he, being a faster runner than I, would take off ahead of me and the negative self-talk that followed in my head was just plain awful. Finally one day I just said that we couldn’t run together anymore. If I was going to meet this HUGE goal, I had to have the mental clarity to do so. We haven’t ran together since and we both have been doing great!

    5. Being willing to share our training with others in our lives and just that sometimes you have to say “no” to the things you would really like out of courage to see you goals come to fruition. It’s not always easy, but always worth it.

    6. For a long time, I had a fear of rejection and of being hurt by others when I trusted them with things–especially things shared with them. Recently however, I’ve often thought of myself as a little too disclosive. What I’m realizing is that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also become much more comfortable in my own skin and the things I’ve dealt with and have experienced how freeing bringing things into the light can be. I also know how safe it is to be the trusted person in someone’s life. I work in Higher Education and just as Lily said earlier, there’s nothing better than a student confiding in you–especially when you know the freedom that sharing will bring.

  19. Judes says:

    I had to really stop and think about this before writing – I’m obviously quite late to the party.

    I’ve had a long road of learning about myself, being ok with sharing “stuff” and saying no. I only wish I’d read the book sooner, it might not have been such a long and painful road!

    The thing that struck me the most is that I can be quite honest on my blog, (but if I’m being honest, I only put out what I’m comfortable with sharing) but I don’t actually have anyone in my life that I can share things with. I think that was what struck me the most.

    My blog readers know more about how I feel and think than people in my actual life – and even then I’m selective about what I publish.

    This will obviously require some more thinking and processing for me – but it’s been quite a surprise. I am “that person” to many, but I haven’t let anyone be “that person” for me. Through fear? Maybe. I don’t even know where to start with that one.

    Just keep reading, I guess.

    xo

  20. Mel says:

    Hello, friends! I’ve been reading all of your comments as they came in this week, and just re-read them. You are courageous, real, incredible people — thank you for participating and sharing your thoughts. It’s a warm feeling, isn’t it, to know that we’re not alone. It’s lovely to read a comment and think, “Whew. Her, too.”

    It’s also totally kickass that some of you are, like, “Nuh-uh. Not me.” Big kudos to the people who already know how to say ‘no.’ Love it!

    There’s some really interesting stuff to chew on, I think, around blogging as expression and the relationships we form online that either supplement or replace face-to-face interactions with “that person.”

    I so appreciate you reading and commenting along with me. Be sure to let me know if there’s a way I can improve our interactions or the questions I’m posting.

    Q&A#2 is live and ready for you:
    http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2012/02/20/gifts-of-imperfection-qa-2/

  21. [...] not here,  and as I’ve recently discovered through reading “Gifts of Imperfection” for Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan’s virtual bookclub, I don’t even have anyone I trust enough to talk about it in my real life [...]

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