Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown - Book Summary

This is a new book I started reading. It is written by Brene Brown a researcher about whole hearted living.  It is about how to live more authentically by embracing our imperfections. I really liked the book. I am not that emotional or not that vocal with emotions. So this book which talks about to work through difficult emotions and express them is really helpful.

This is my summary of the book till now...

Wholehearted living:
Cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.

Courage compassion and connection can seem like big lofty ideals, but in reality they are daily practices that when exercised daily  become the gifts in our lives. And the good news is that our vulnerabilities are what force us to call upon these amazing tools. Because we are imperfect, we get to practice using our tools on a daily basis.

1. How courage compassion and connection are tools for developing worthiness
2 More questions on love, belonging and worthiness
3. What are the obstacles to this journey

Men and women who live Wholeheartedly do indeed
DIG Deep. They just do it in a different way. When they’re exhausted and overwhelmed, they get
Deliberate in their thoughts and behaviors through prayer, meditation, or simply setting their intentions;
Inspired to make new and different choices;
Going. They take action

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.

Practicing courage compassion and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate our worthiness.

We need support and we should be courageous to ask for it and acknowledge when we are feeling down or shameful. When we share it takes the pain away.
It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned that playing down the exciting stuff doesn’t take the pain away when it doesn’t happen. It does, however, minimize the joy when it does happen.

Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver. And our world could stand to be a little kinder and braver.


In cultivating compassion we draw from the wholeness of our experience—our suffering, our empathy, as well as our cruelty and terror. It has to be this way. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

One of the greatest (and least discussed) barriers to compassion practice is the fear of setting boundaries and holding people accountable.
We have to stay away from convincing ourselves that we hate someone or that they deserve to feel bad so that we can feel better about holding them accountable. That’s where we get into trouble. When we talk ourselves into disliking someone so we’re more comfortable holding them accountable, we’re priming ourselves for the shame and blame game.

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice. For our own sake, we need to understand that it’s dangerous to our relationships and our well-being to get mired in shame and blame, or to be full of self-righteous anger. It’s also impossible to practice compassion from a place of resentment. If we’re going to practice acceptance and compassion, we need boundaries and accountability.

connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment;
and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.

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.

The Wholehearted journey is not the path of least resistance. It’s a path of consciousness and choice. And, to be honest, it’s a little counterculture. The willingness to tell our stories, feel the pain of others, and stay genuinely connected in this disconnected world is not something we can do halfheartedly.
To practice courage, compassion, and connection is to look at life and the people around us, and say, “I’m all in.”

Power of love and belonging

Love is the most important thing in our lives, a passion for which we would fight or die, and yet we’re reluctant to linger over its names. Without a supple vocabulary, we can’t even talk or think about it directly.

If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.
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.

The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute.

learn that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing, and, in fact, fitting in gets in the way of belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.


We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them—we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true
belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

Sometimes, as I turned to the data to craft definitions like the ones above, I would cry. I didn’t want my level of self-love to limit how much I can love my children or my husband. Why? Because loving them and accepting their imperfections is much easier than turning that light of loving-kindness on myself.

Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves.

Practicing Loving and Belonging

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

If we want to live and love with our whole hearts, and if we want to engage with the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way — especially shame, fear, and vulnerability.

Things that get in the way
when we struggle to believe in our worthiness, we hustle for it.

Here are the first three things that you need to know about shame:
1. We all have it. Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions that we experience. The only people who don’t experience shame lack the capacity for empathy and human connection.
2. We’re all afraid to talk about shame.
3. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives.

Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.

While it feels as if shame hides in our darkest corners, it actually tends to lurk in all of the familiar places, including appearance and
body image, family, parenting, money and work, health, addiction, sex, aging, and religion. To feel shame is to be human.

If we’ve worked hard to make sure everything looks “just right” on the outside, the stakes are high when it comes to truth-telling. This is why shame loves perfectionists— it’s so easy to keep us quiet.

Shame needs three things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence,and judgment. When something shaming happens and we keep it locked up, it festers and grows. It consumes us.

I found that men and women with high levels of shame resilience share these four elements:
1. They understand shame and recognize what messages and expectations trigger shame for them.
2. They practice critical awareness by reality-checking the messages and expectations that tell us that being imperfect means being inadequate.
3. They reach out and share their stories with people they trust.
4. They speak shame—they use the word shame, they talk about how they’re feeling, and they ask for what they need.

Difference between guilt and shame
Guilt = I did something bad.
Shame = I am bad.

According to Dr. Hartling, in order to deal with shame, some of us move away by withdrawing, hiding, silencing ourselves, and keeping secrets. Some of us move toward by seeking to appease and please. And, some of us move against by trying to gain power over others, by being aggressive, and by using shame to fight shame

The four elements of shame resilience: Name it. Talk about it. Own your story. Tell the story.

When we’re in shame, we’re not fit for human consumption. We need to get back on our emotional feet before we do, say, e-mail, or text something that we’ll regret. I know that it will take me ten to fifteen minutes to pull myself together and that I will definitely cry before I’m ready. I’ll also need to pray. Knowing this is such a gift.

If you want to kick-start your shame resilience and story-claiming, start with
these questions. Figuring out the answers can change your life:
1. Who do you become when you’re backed into that shame corner?
2. How do you protect yourself?
3. Who do you call to work through the mean-nasties or the cry-n-hides or the people-pleasing?
4. What’s the most courageous thing you could do for yourself when you feel small and hurt ?

Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or a small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredible lucky.

Guidepost #1 - Cultivating Authenticity 

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want. — Margaret Young

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s
about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to
let our true selves be seen.

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and
embracing who we are.
Choosing authenticity means
cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to
be vulnerable;
exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of
strength and struggle; and
nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we
believe that we are enough.
Authenticity demands Wholehearted living and loving—even when it’s hard, even when
we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when
the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it.

Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we
invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.

It’s not so much the act of authenticity that challenges the status quo—I think
of it as the audacity of authenticity.

Caution: If you trade in your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following:
anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and
inexplicable grief.
Dig Deep:
Whenever I’m faced with a vulnerable situation, I get
deliberate with my intentions by repeating this to myself: “Don’t shrink. Don’t
puff up. Stand on your sacred ground.” I think there’s something deeply spiritual
about standing your ground.

Whenever I’m faced with a vulnerable situation, I get deliberate with my intentions by repeating this to myself: “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground.” I think there’s something deeply spiritual about standing your ground.

I try to make authenticity my number one goal when I go into a situation where I’m feeling vulnerable. If authenticity is my goal and I keep it real, I never regret it. I might get my feelings hurt, but I rarely feel shame.

Guidepost #2 Cultivating Self-Compassion

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and
beginning the work of becoming yourself.

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Healthy striving is self-focused—How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused—What will they think?

Life-paralysis refers to all of the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect. It’s also all of the dreams that we don’t follow because of our deep fear of failing, making mistakes, and disappointing others. It’s terrifying to risk when you’re a perfectionist; your self-worth is on the line.

Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels
this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything
perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment,
and blame.
Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception—we want to be perceived as
perfect. Again, this is unattainable—there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying. Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough. So rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right.
Feeling shamed, judged, and blamed (and the fear of these feelings) are realities of the human experience. Perfectionism actually increases the odds that we’ll experience these painful emotions and often leads to self blame: It’s my fault. I’m feeling this way because “I’m not good enough.”

To overcome perfectionism, we need to be able to acknowledge our vulnerabilities to the universal experiences of shame, judgment, and blame; develop shame resilience; and practice self-compassion. When we become more loving and compassionate with ourselves and we begin to practice shame
resilience, we can embrace our imperfections. It is in the process of embracing our imperfections that we find our truest gifts: courage, compassion, and connection.
They spoke about their imperfections in a tender and honest way, and without shame and fear. Second, they were slow to judge themselves and others.

A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day.
A string of such moments can change the course of your life.


According to Neff, self-compassion has three elements: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Self-kindness: Being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we
suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating
ourselves with self-criticism.
Common humanity: Common humanity recognizes that suffering and
feelings of personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience—
something we all go through rather than something that happens to “me”
Mindfulness: Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that
feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. We cannot ignore our pain
and feel compassion for it at the same time. Mindfulness requires that we
not “over-identify” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and
swept away by negativity.
Dig Deep: 
Dr. Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale.
It’s a short test that measures the elements of self-compassion (self-kindness, common humanity, and
mindfulness) and the things that get in the way (self-judgment, isolation, and
overidentification). www.self-compassion.org
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. It reminds me that our
imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together. Imperfectly, but together. “Today, I’m going to believe that showing up is enough

# Guidepost 3 - Cultivating a resilient spirit. 
If you look at the current research, here are five of the most common factors of
resilient people:
1. They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills.
2. They are more likely to seek help.
3. They hold the belief that they can do something that will help them to
manage their feelings and to cope.
4. They have social support available to them.
5. They are connected with others, such as family or friends

Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each
other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one
another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of
perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.

From this foundation of spirituality, three other significant patterns emerged
as being essential to resilience:
1. Cultivating hope
2. Practicing critical awareness
3. Letting go of numbing and taking the edge off vulnerability, discomfort, and

hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities.Hopeful self-talk sounds more like, This is tough, but I can do it.

Tolerance for disappointment, determination, and a belief in self are the
heart of hope.Entitlement is “I deserve this just because I want it” and agency is “I know I can do this.”

Practicing critical awareness is about reality-checking the messages and
expectations that drive the “never good enough” gremlins.

practicing spirituality brings perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives. When we allow ourselves to become culturally conditioned to believe that we are not enough and that we don’t make enough or have enough, it damages our soul. This is why I think practicing critical awareness and reality-checking is as much about spirituality as it is about critical thinking.

Most of us engage in behaviors (consciously or not) that help us to numb
and take the edge of off vulnerability, pain, and discomfort.
2. Addiction can be described as chronically and compulsively numbing and
taking the edge off of feelings.
3. We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful
emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.

For many of us, our first response to vulnerability and pain of these sharp points is not to lean into the discomfort and feel our way through but rather to make it go away. We do that by numbing and taking the edge off the pain with whatever provides the quickest relief. We can anesthetize
with a whole bunch of stuff, including alcohol, drugs, food, sex, relationships, money, work, caretaking, gambling, staying busy, affairs, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism, constant change, and the Internet.

after years of research, I’m convinced that we all numb and take the edge off. The question is, does our _______________ (eating, drinking,spending, gambling, saving the world, incessant gossiping, perfectionism, sixty hour workweek) get in the way of our authenticity? Does it stop us from being emotionally honest and setting boundaries and feeling like we’re enough? Does it keep us from staying out of judgment and from feeling connected? Are we using _____________ to hide or escape from the reality of our lives?

While I was “taking the edge off” of the pain and vulnerability, I was also unintentionally dulling my
experiences of good feelings, like joy. Now I can lean into joy, even when it makes me feel tender and vulnerable. Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone
fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees— these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain

Feelings of hopelessness, fear, blame, pain, discomfort, vulnerability, and disconnection sabotage resilience. The only experience that seems broad and fierce enough to combat a list like that is the belief that we’re all in this together and that something greater than us has the capacity to bring love and compassion into our lives.

Whether we’re overcoming adversity, surviving trauma, or dealing with stress and anxiety, having a sense of purpose, meaning, and perspective in our lives allows us to develop understanding and move forward. The heart of spirituality is connection. When we believe in that inextricable connection, we don’t feel alone.

Dig Deep: 
12 step vowel check 
A = Have I been Abstinent today? (However you define that—I find it a little more
challenging when it comes to things like food, work, and the computer.)
E = Have I Exercised today?
I = What have I done for myself today?
O = What have I done for Others today?
U = Am I holding on to Unexpressed emotions today?
Y = Yeah! What is something good that’s happened today?

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine
when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only
if there is a light from within.”

# Guidepost 4 - Cultivating Gratitude & Joy 

When it comes to gratitude, the word that jumped out at me throughout thisresearch process is practice. I don’t necessarily think another researcher would have been so taken aback, but as someone who thought that knowledge was more important than practice, I found these words to be a call to action.

Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in
moments—often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because
we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the
dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.
A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable.
I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust,
gratitude, inspiration, and faith.

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy
into the shadows.

For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.”
The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough
occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of
the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what
we don’t have enough of … We don’t have enough exercise. We don’t have enough work. We
don’t have enough profits. We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness.
We don’t have enough weekends. Of course, we don’t have enough money—ever.
We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough or fit enough or
educated or successful enough, or rich enough—ever. Before we even sit up in bed, before
our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already
lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds race with a litany of what
we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and
wake up to the reverie of lack … What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or
even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life

We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mindset of scarcity.
Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I
don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step
short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency
isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that
there is enough, and that we are enough.
Sufficiency resides inside of each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness,
an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances.

Dig deep:
We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mindset of scarcity.
Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I
don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step
short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency
isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that
there is enough, and that we are enough.
Sufficiency resides inside of each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness,
an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances.

From taking turns being thankful during grace to more creative
projects like creating a jar to keep gratitude notes in, we’re making
Wholeheartedness a family affair

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fall into fall

Nature is one of the things that inspires us all. When we go and spend some time in the woods, it makes us feel connected to this earth. It makes us feel very peaceful. I personally feel a sense of connection to the past and future. Nature is never constant it keeps changing bringing about the change in seasons. Any change of season is another chance to go keep looking at the hills and mountains, streams and rivers, leaves and flowers and feel inspired and connected.

So today I want to leave you with just that message - go out into the nature and take a look at the beautiful fall colors. It is an inspiring message of letting go things which are unnecessary and get ready to face the harsh challenges ahead. Even in shedding the things that are unnecessary it puts up such a beautiful picture inspiring us all.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Consistency is the key

There is awesome power in compounding. Anything worthwhile takes time and it is a great advantage if you're able to wait for it a little more time than you think you can.

Just keep doing the work and keep improving and keep using it and it will definitely improve. The more consistent you are the faster you reach where you want to go.

Make the thing you want to do so easy and so ingrained that your mind thinks that thing to be the default path and it will start doing it first before anything else. And it is possible. How you ask - just keep doing the thing at same time daily with complete focus. And when done rest. Repeat it day after day. It seems so simple, so much so that it feels as if it doesn't work at all. But there in lies the secret, it is so simple not to work. It took me so much time to discover that, but that seems the secret to acting and action begets more action and in no time, there is an avalanche of results. So that is the mantra ... action consistently at the same time daily no matter what, whatever it takes.
I'm off to my work... !

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

When feeling doubtful after starting something, put in the work first and then reevaluate...

When we are working on something difficult, we know it will take time. But when it seems out of our reach, it is natural to question whether what we are doing is worth it or if it makes sense to abandon it. But working through this feeling is essential to doing anything worthwhile. But does this mean we should keep ploughing through without ever seeing the light?  In these cases it might be worthwhile to keep ploughing but keep a point to review the decision based on how far we have come and then take the decision whether it makes sense to proceed or to give up. This thought shouldn't bother us when we are working on something except at the predetermined decision point.

And that decision can be ideally decided in the beginning. But ideally since anything difficult takes atleast double the time budgeted for it initially, it seems the ideal decision point is after we have spent double the time initially expected on the difficult thing attempted.

To summarize,

- When doing anything difficult it is natural to feel doubtful of that.
- When you start feeling that, decide that you will do that difficult thing for x amount of time.
-  Then work hard on it for 2x time
- If it is achieved then there is nothing to do.
- If not achieved yet, review based on the progress whether to sink more time to finish it or to bail out.

So basically, when feeling doubtful  after starting something, put in the work first and then reevaluate...