I Thought It Was Just Me : Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power
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."
"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."
"Brown is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about her subject and has a smooth writing style."
"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
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January 22, 2007
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