Gifts of Imperfection – Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough
When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness—that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging—lives inside of our story.
Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection (p. 23). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.
I think back to my teens and twenties and feel like I wasted years and years attempting to “fit in.” Isn’t that what we all do in high school? Try to figure out who everyone wants us to be? I wish I could say that becoming a mother matured me beyond this behavior, but it only redirected my attention to who I was supposed to be “as a mother.” I looked everywhere for the answer. Parenting books. Friends. My own mother.
Brene calls this “hustling for worthiness.” That phrase hits me right in the gut because I know the pain of changing in an attempt to belong only to find belonging slip through my fingers. Worthiness was always just out of reach and clothed in self-doubt. I was supposed to love snuggling my baby all night. I was supposed to be happy staying at home. I was supposed to feel like my baby and I belonged together. Supposed to. If you’re ever wondering if you’re hustling for worthiness, listen for those words. They are my red flag.
The other portion in this chapter that resonates with me is about love.
To begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner automatically assumes accountability and responsibility. — BELL HOOKS
Bell Hooks, All About Love: New Visions (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Harper Paperbacks, 2001).
She shares the quote above and gives examples of times she’s struggled with practicing love in her own life.
I truly love Steve (and, oh man, I do), then how I behave every day is as important, if not more important, than saying “I love you” every day. When we don’t practice love with the people we claim to love, it takes a lot out of us. Incongruent living is exhausting.
Brown, Brene (2010-09-20). The Gifts of Imperfection (p. 28). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.
The stress of parenting small children (or even just the stress of everyday life) can make us forget that love is something you do. My husband likes to say that he told me he loves me the day we got married and if that changes, he will let me know. He practices love each day instead. This chapter reminded me that though I might tell him I love him every day, when I snap at him in an anxious moment, I am not practicing love. And when I lose my temper with No1, I needed to be more mindful of showing her the love I feel for her. It’s not easy, and not always possible. But being mindful of how important my everyday actions are to the people around me has helped me feel more connected to them. It makes me want to explicitly teach the language of worthiness to my children.
Let’s talk. Can you think of a time when you felt true belonging? How did you get there? How did it change your interactions with others or your perception of yourself?
How do you hustle for worthiness? I know I fall victim to believing that perfection will lead to worthiness for me. And pleasing. I am SUCH a people pleaser and am actively working on learning to say no, putting myself first. Is it performing, perfecting, pleasing, proving? Or something else?
Disclaimer: I purchased the book Gifts of Imperfection on my own and am not being compensated for my review of the book or for promoting it. I receive no kickback from any of the Amazon links provided above. I simply love the book and want to share.