I met Brené through a mutual friend who invited us to the same getaway weekend; however, now that I've known her for a few years, I'm convinced that Brené and I would've ended up meeting and being friends eventually, no matter what. In some ways, Brené and I are very different: she's a Texan girl through and through; I, despite having lived a majority of my life in the United States, remain rather stubbornly Trini at my core. In other ways, though, we're very similar: I believe that everyone is uncommonly beautiful, and desperately wish that every person could see their beautiful Different in themselves; Brené believes that the hustle for an unattainable (and ridiculously subjective) standard of "perfection" keeps people from realizing they are worthy of love and belonging.
Seems to me that these are two different sides of the same coin.
Brené's new book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are is now available, and on Tuesday night, I was so thrilled to attend her official book launch. Brené is always amazingly inspirational to listen to, and hearing her talk about the stories behind her book (which is touted as a "guide to living a wholehearted life") was as fantastic an experience as I expected it to be. Brené posits that perfection isn't actually about being the very best at everything or even about self-improvement, as much as it is a form of protection -- from criticism, from not measuring up, from whatever. My favourite thing that she says about perfection is that "it is a 20-ton shield we lug around that we think will protect us, when really, it's the one thing that keeps us from taking flight."
Her book (and her talk) has me thinking, though. As you know, I talk a lot about the power of love here on the site -- you all help me celebrate Love Thursday every week, proving that love is really all around us; so many of you participated in the Photobomb (so that it got national attention) -- and I don't think I've made a big secret of the fact that I believe that Love Always Wins. However, the truth is that I've spent most of my time here talking about loving other people, or loving other things, even loving our lives -- and I've spent far too little of my time talking about how we love ourselves. And the more I think of it, the more it occurs to me:
If we treated ourselves as if we were someone we really truly loved, the need to be perfect would fly right out the godforsaken window.
I mean, think about it: do we require perfection out of the people who we really love? The people who simply light us up -- if they make a mistake or are less than perfect, do we stop loving them, or love them a little less? I'll strongly wager we don't. So why don't we do this for ourselves? Our imperfect, awesome, worthy selves?
So I say we start today: after all, I believe love isn't just an emotion, it's also a decision. So today, for Love Thursday, let's decide to show ourselves some real, authentic love: instead of (or in addition to, if you so desire) leaving links of love in the comments below, I invite you to confess something imperfect about you, and end your confession with "and still, I'm worthy of love."
I'll start. For example (and this is the God's honest truth):
I cannot keep a shelf or a cupboard straight, even if my life depended on it. If you came to my house right now, right this second, you would think, 'oh, what a nice house!' but dear God, do NOT open any closet doors. The avalanche might kill you.
And still, I'm worthy of love.
I'm not going to lie to you: it might feel weird leaving this type of comment, and it might feel uncomfortable, but dammit, do it anyway. Because it's true, even if you don't believe it. Also? You're so amazingly worth it. Besides, we'd have no problem saying these about the friends we love, so by God, we shouldn't have any problem with saying this about ourselves. Also, I promise you that Chookooloonks is a safe place to do it. If you do leave a comment like this below before midnight Thursday night/Friday morning, I'll choose one commenter at random to receive a signed copy of Brené's book. That's right, personalized especially for you.
You want to leave a comment now, don't you?
I'll announce the winner in tomorrow's post.
And finally, I want to share this quote that Brené has in her book, that pretty much sums up the whole point of this post ... well ... perfectly:
"A moment of self-compassion can change the course of your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life."
~ Christopher K. Germer
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Incidentally: the photograph at the top of this post is in participation of Brené's Perfect Protest. If you'd like to participate, simply upload a photograph of yourself with a sign somewhere on the web, and share the link at Brené's site. She'd love to see it.
Images: Top image, taken with my Photobooth software on my Mac; bottom two images photographed with my Nikon D300 and 50mm lens.