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Let go of who you think you're supposed to be, and embrace who you are. ~Brené Brown


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In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen — really seen. ~Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, isn’t the self-help bible the title may mislead you to expect. Rather, it’s a treasure trove of insight on emotional health and psychological balance, rooted in a decade’s worth of rigorous research but delivered in a deeply human way. 

The Gifts of Imperfection examines one of the greatest foundations of happiness — our sense of and need for belonging, both with others and in our own skin — and brings to it a level of authenticity and understanding that fundamentally changes the way we relate to ourselves and each other.

7 Must-Read Books on the Art & Science of Happiness | Brain Pickings

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

The Art of Happiness, a landmark articulation of the philosophy of peace and compassion as a foundation of happiness by Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, has served as a powerful guide to well-being for secular and spiritual happiness seekers alike for the past twelve years.

7 Must-Read Books on the Art & Science of Happiness | Brain Pickings

We have within us the capacity to manufacture the very quality we are constantly chasing. ~Daniel Gilbert

Nearly four years ago, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert published Stumbling On Happiness. To this day, it remains the best-researched yet captivatingly digestible book on the art and science of happiness, exposing with equal parts wit and scientific rigor the many misconceptions we have about happiness, the tricks our minds play on us in its pursuit and how the limitations of our imagination get in the way of the grand quest.

Sample the book’s nuggets of wisdom with Gilbert’s excellent TED talk from 2008:

this is a great tedtalk. i've seen it already, but this second viewing was just as good.  here are my notes:

connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives.  neurologically it is how our brains are wired.  it's why we're here.

shame unravels connection.  shame and fear.  shame is feeling "i'm not good enough."

shame is underpinned by excruciating vulnerability.  in order for a connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really be seen.

her research showed most people felt great shame, but there were a few who didn't.  and what set them apart was a strong sense of love and belonging.  she calls these people the "whole-hearted."  they are people who have this sense of worthiness, which comes from courage, compassion, connection, and vulnerability.

courage etymology: comes from the latin word "cor" meaning heart. original definition is "to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart."

the "whole-hearted" have:

• the courage to be imperfect.

• the compassion to be themselves first and to let others be themselves, too.

• connection as a result of authenticity.

• fully embraced vulnerability.

the whole-hearted believe that what makes them vulnerable, makes them beautiful. they know that while vulnerability isn't comfortable, it is necessary.  vulnerability is fundamental.

vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, love...

we live in a vulnerable world. we are the most in-debt, obese, addicted, and medicated adult cohort in u.s. history.  the problem is that you cannot selectively numb emotion.  so when we numb vulnerability, we also numb joy, gratitude, and happiness. and then we are miserable and looking for purpose or meaning, and we feel vulnerable again.  so we go back to numbing, and the cycle continues.

we like to make everything that is uncertain certain.

blame is described in the research as "a way to discharge pain and discomfort."

we perfect things.  we like to make them better.  and we do it to our children too. when we look at our babies, we say, "you're perfect and my job is to keep you perfect."  but actually, our job is to say, "you are imperfect, and you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging."

we pretend that what we do doesn't have an effect on people.  we do this in our personal lives and on corporate levels (bailouts, oil spills, recalls), but we just need to be authentic and say, "we're sorry. we'll fix it."

we need to:

• let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen.

• love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee.

• practice gratitude and joy, even in those moments of terror.  know that to feel vulnerable is to be alive.

• believe that we're enough.

Those are great notes.

Your last four bullet points are much harder to do than to say!

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