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I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't): Telling the Truth about Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power

Brene Brown


  • Paperback
    $23.69
PUBLISHED: 27th December 2007
ISBN: 9781592403356
ANNOTATION:
The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world. As hard as we try, we cant seem to turn off the tapes that fill our heads with messages like, Never good enough! and What will people think? Why? What fuels this unattainable need to look like we always have it all together? At first glance we might think its because we admire perfection, but thats not the case. We are actually the most attracted to people we consider to be authentic and down-to-earth. We love people who are real were drawn to those who both embrace their imperfections and radiate self-acceptance. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that "being imperfect" is synonymous with "being inadequate," Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how were supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in "pretending" and "perfection," Based on seven years of ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, "I Thought It Was Just Me" shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that were all in this together. Dr. Brown writes, We need our lives back. Its time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. Theseare the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives.
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  • Paperback
    $23.69
PUBLISHED: 27th December 2007
ISBN: 9781592403356
ANNOTATION:
The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world. As hard as we try, we cant seem to turn off the tapes that fill our heads with messages like, Never good enough! and What will people think? Why? What fuels this unattainable need to look like we always have it all together? At first glance we might think its because we admire perfection, but thats not the case. We are actually the most attracted to people we consider to be authentic and down-to-earth. We love people who are real were drawn to those who both embrace their imperfections and radiate self-acceptance. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that "being imperfect" is synonymous with "being inadequate," Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how were supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in "pretending" and "perfection," Based on seven years of ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, "I Thought It Was Just Me" shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that were all in this together. Dr. Brown writes, We need our lives back. Its time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. Theseare the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives.

Annotation

The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world. As hard as we try, we cant seem to turn off the tapes that fill our heads with messages like, Never good enough! and What will people think? Why? What fuels this unattainable need to look like we always have it all together? At first glance we might think its because we admire perfection, but thats not the case. We are actually the most attracted to people we consider to be authentic and down-to-earth. We love people who are real were drawn to those who both embrace their imperfections and radiate self-acceptance. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that "being imperfect" is synonymous with "being inadequate," Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how were supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in "pretending" and "perfection," Based on seven years of ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, "I Thought It Was Just Me" shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that were all in this together. Dr. Brown writes, We need our lives back. Its time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. Theseare the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives.

Publisher Description

The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world. As hard as we try, we can't seem to turn off the tapes that fill our heads with messages like, ?Never good enough ? and ?What will people think Why? What fuels this unattainable need to look like we always have it all together? At first glance we might think it's because we admire perfection, but that's not the case. We are actually the most attracted to people we consider to be authentic and down-to-earth. We love people who are ?real? ? we?re drawn to those who both embrace their imperfections and radiate self-acceptance. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that "being imperfect" is synonymous with "being inadequate." Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how we?re supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in "pretending" and "perfection." Based on seven years of ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, "I Thought It Was Just Me" shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we?re all in this together. Dr. Brown writes, ?We need our lives back. It's time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection ? the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. These are the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives.?

Author Biography

Bren? Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W., is a writer and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. A dynamic speaker, she frequently presents on the topic of shame resilience at conferences and public events. Visit her popular blog to learn more.

Review

"Brown offers insights and strategies for understanding shame and overcoming its power over women... An interesting look at a debilitating emotion that stunts the potential of too many women."--Booklist

"Brown is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about her subject and has a smooth writing style."

--Library Journal

"Shame is a profoundly debilitating emotion. It drives our fears of not being good enough. We can learn to feel shame about anything that is real about us --- our shape, our accent, our financial situation, our wrinkles, our size, our illness, or how we spend our day. I Thought It Was Just Me is an urgent and compelling invitation to examine our struggles with shame and to learn valuable tools to become our best, most authentic selves. Grounded in exceptional scholarship and filled with inspiring stories, this is one of those rare books that has the potential to turn lives around."

--Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. author of The Dance of Anger

"Brene Brown has written an insightful and informative study of a subject that leaves many women feeling trapped and powerless. Her analysis of how women are often caught in shame, is in itself liberating, and her thoughtful suggestions will help readers continue to free themselves from emotional debilitation in ways they may not even realize are possible. I Thought It Was Just Me can be a doorway to freedom and self-esteem for many, many readers."

--Martha Beck, Ph.D., columnist, O, The Oprah Magazine, and author of Finding Your Own Northstar

"Brene Brown's ability to explore shame and resilience with humor, vulnerability and honesty is both uplifting and liberating. If we want to change our lives, our relationships or even the world, we must start by understanding and overcoming the shame that keeps us silent. This important and hopeful book offers a bold new perspective on the power of telling our stories."

--Professor Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient; Campaign Ambassador, International Campaign to Ban Landmines

"This is an important and inspiring book that offers understanding and validation to the painful feelings that come with the beliefs that we are not good enough or we should be different than who we are. Brene Brown walks us on a path that releases the shackles of inadequacy and leads us to embracing our authentic selves."

--Claudia Black, Ph.D. author of It Will Never Happen To Me

Review Quote

"Brown offers insights and strategies for understanding shame and overcoming its power over women… An interesting look at a debilitating emotion that stunts the potential of too many women." - Booklist "Brown is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about her subject and has a smooth writing style." - Library Journal " Shame is a profoundly debilitating emotion. It drives our fears of not being good enough. We can learn to feel shame about anything that is real about us --- our shape, our accent, our financial situation, our wrinkles, our size, our illness, or how we spend our day. I Thought It Was Just Me is an urgent and compelling invitation to examine our struggles with shame and to learn valuable tools to become our best, most authentic selves. Grounded in exceptional scholarship and filled with inspiring stories, this is one of those rare books that has the potential to turn lives around." - Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. author of The Dance of Anger "Brené Brown has written an insightful and informative study of a subject that leaves many women feeling trapped and powerless. Her analysis of how women are often caught in shame, is in itself liberating, and her thoughtful suggestions will help readers continue to free themselves from emotional debilitation in ways they may not even realize are possible. I Thought It Was Just Me can be a doorway to freedom and self-esteem for many, many readers." -Martha Beck, Ph.D., columnist, O, The Oprah Magazine , and author of Finding Your Own Northstar "Brené Brown's ability to explore shame and resilience with humor, vulnerability and honesty is both uplifting and liberating. If we want to change our lives, our relationships or even the world, we must start by understanding and overcoming the shame that keeps us silent. This important and hopeful book offers a bold new perspective on the power of telling our stories." -Professor Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient; Campaign Ambassador, International Campaign to Ban Landmines "This is an important and inspiring book that offers understanding and validation to the painful feelings that come with the beliefs that we are not good enough or we should be different than who we are. Brené Brown walks us on a path that releases the shackles of inadequacy and leads us to embracing our authentic selves." -Claudia Black, Ph.D. author of It Will Never Happen To Me

Excerpt from Book

Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Acknowledgements INTRODUCTION ONE - Understanding Shame TWO - Shame Resilience and the Power of Empathy THREE - The First Element: Recognizing Shame and Understanding Our Triggers FOUR - The Second Element: Practicing Critical Awareness FIVE - The Third Element: Reaching Out SIX - The Fourth Element: Speaking Shame SEVEN - Practicing Courage in a Culture of Fear EIGHT - Practicing Compassion in a Culture of Blame NINE - Practicing Connection in a Culture of Disconnection TEN - Creating a Culture of Connection RECOMMENDATIONS, RESOURCES AND REFERENCES INDEX About the Author GOTHAM BOOKS Published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.); Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, Engl∧ Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen''s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd); Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd); Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi -110017, India; Penguin Group (NZ), cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd); Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Published by Gotham Books, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. First printing, February 2007 Copyright © 2007 by Brené Brown All rights reserved "Shame" © 1988 by Vern Rutsala is reprinted with permission of the author. Gotham Books and the skyscraper logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA Brown, C. Brené I thought it was just me : women reclaiming power and courage in a culture of shame / Brené Brown. p. cm. ISBN: 9781440622229 1. Women--Psychology. 2. Shame. I. Title. HQ1206.B765 2007 152.4''4082--dc22 2006026945 Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author''s rights is appreciated. While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content. FOR THE WOMEN WHO INSPIRE ME my mom my sisters my daughter my friends my teachers my students my sister social workers the artists and activists the researchers and writers the women who shared their stories to make this work possible ACKNOWLEDGMENTS W riting this book has fundamentally changed my life. Every time it became too hard, I thought about the research participants who contributed to this book and to my understanding of shame. They courageously shared their experiences based only on their faith in my promise to be honest and accurate with their stories. Each and every one willingly embraced their fears in order for us to learn. I cannot thank them enough. I sincerely hope they find that this book honors the spirit of their contributions, their work and their wisdom. In addition to the women who shared their stories with me, I owe an extraordinary debt to the people who both personally and professionally supported me through this process and helped me bring this work to life. Personally, I could not have done this without the love, support and courage of my husband, Steve. I was absolutely sustained by his faith in my ability, his respect for my work and his commitment to our family. I''m equally grateful for what a wonderful father he is and for his ability to make me laugh. My children, Ellen and Charlie, fill my life with love and laughter. They inspire me, keep me grounded and make it very difficult for me to take myself too seriously. In many different ways, this work would not be possible without my parents. Their greatest gifts have been what they have taught me and continue to teach me. From my mother, Deanne Rogers, I''ve learned about courage, strength and perseverance. Chuck Brown, my father, gave me the gifts of critical thinking, debate and activism. These lessons helped me realize my dream of finishing my Ph.D. and writing this book. To my mother''s partner David and my dad''s partner Molly, I thank you for your willingness to embrace our family and share your lives with us. I also want to acknowledge my grandmother, Ellen, who was also an inspiration to me. I try to carry her spirit and kindness with me. To my brother, Jason, and my sisters, Ashley and Barrett, we are on a special journey together and I''m so grateful to be sharing it with you. Our history, love and laughter are important forces in my life. To Mike, Ashley''s husband, and Amaya, my beautiful niece, thank you for bringing so much joy to our family. To Audrey, Jason''s wife, we''re glad you''re here--you''ve always felt like family. When I married Steve I inherited a wonderful family. To Corky and Jack, Bill and Jacobina, Memo, Bebo and David, it is impossible for me to think of my life without you--you are my family. I have had the extraordinary fortune of working with people who are both colleagues and good friends. I am forever indebted to my dear friend, Charles Kiley, who has generously walked every step of this journey with me. I couldn''t have done it without him. I also owe special thanks to my friends, colleagues and sister social workers, Dawn Fey Hedgepeth, Cheryl Dunn and Beverly McPhail. Their willingness to share their expertise and experiences contributed greatly to this book. I want to thank illustrator David Robinson and graphic designer Doni Hieronymus, for their artistic contributions. I also want to acknowledge Cole Schweikhardt of Squidz Ink Design and Daniel Levine and Marian Mankin of DMLCo for their support and help with my Web site. I am so lucky to be surrounded by wonderful friends and mentors. I wish there was some way, beyond a simple thank you, to let the following women know how much they''ve touched my life: Angela Blanchard, Margarita Flores, Karen Holmes, Jean Latting, Ann McFarland, Barb Nowak, Susan Robbins, Ruth Rubio, Karen Stout, Susan Turell, Jody Williams and Laura Williams. I am also fortunate to be affiliated with two outstanding organizations. First, I want to thank the faculty, staff and students at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. It is a true privilege to be a social worker and part of this learning community. Second, I want to acknowledge the Nobel Women''s Initiative. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such wise and wonderful activists, scholars and peace-builders. There is a third group of activists and scholars I''d like to thank--a group of women who have changed the way I look at myself and at the world. My mother gave me a copy of Harriet Lerner''s book, The Dance of Anger, when I was in my early twenties. It was my first nonfiction psychology book. I remember reading it and thinking, "I''m not alone!" By the third chapter, I had fallen in love with the power of books. When I started teaching, I carried bell hooks''s book, Teaching to Transgress, with me at all times. Jean Kilbourne''s book, Can''t Buy My Love, forever changed the way I watch TV, read magazines and listen to music. I turned to the Stone Center at Wellesley to better understand who I wanted to be in the context of my social work career. I still buy Mary Pipher''s book Reviving Ophelia for all of my friends with daughters, and her new book, Writing to Change the World , is required reading for my students. The list of authors who have changed my life is endless; however, these powerful women have certainly made the greatest impression. I thank them for making this a better world and for forging the path for what has now become my career. Last, I want to thank the people who believed enough in this work to turn it into a book--something I don''t take for granted. I extend a heartfelt thanks to my agent, Stephanie von Hirschberg, for lending her wisdom, integrity and sense of balance to this process. To my editor, Erin Moore, I feel so fortunate to work with a woman who embodies the authenticity, courage and compassion I write about in my book--thank you. I also want t

Product Details

Author
Brene Brown
Short Title
I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME BUT I
Pages
303
Publisher
Gotham Books
Language
English
ISBN-10
1592403352
ISBN-13
9781592403356
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
Illustrations
Yes
Year
2008
Publication Date
2008-01-31
Subtitle
Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power
Country of Publication
United States
Audience
General/Trade