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I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough" Paperback – December 27, 2007
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The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. 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.
Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, is the leading authority on the power of vulnerability, and has inspired thousands through her top-selling books Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and The Gifts of Imperfection, her wildly popular TEDx talks, and a PBS special. Based on seven years of her 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.
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 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
“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
About the Author
- Publisher : Avery; 1st edition (December 27, 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1592403352
- ISBN-13 : 978-1592403356
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.36 x 0.71 x 7.98 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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The big difference is that this research and book is centered completely on women, however, we know from her more recent research that despite men and women having different shame causes, or despite them looking different on the outside, all shame is the same, so this book really does have good information for anyone willing to identify with the basics.
Brown spent six years talking to women, back when men wouldn't admit that addiction, workaholism, rage, isolation, etc are all somewhat shame-based. They told us men didn't have the same issues with shame as women. We now know better (frankly women knew this all along,) but Brown wanted a valid study, so she talked to women. Once any gender overcomes the fear of admitting to shame, all of the information here is just as valid for men as it is for women as it is for someone who doesn't fall into the binary gender categories. The only difference is the examples.
Shame shows up everywhere from biggies like addiction and self-injury to perfectionism, anger, and blame. It affects everything from our physical health, self-image to our relationships and ability to feel a part of the community. Those relationships I mention include ones with people as well as money, work, friendships and everything else we relate to.
The best parts of this book promise to be the basic information that comforts the reader by giving us the data and a push to brave the fear of shame and let some sunshine in. Sunlight is the antidote to shame. We have to put aside the false bravado to become our truest selves and then, in a perverse twist, can we ultimately fit in.
Sadly, this book only illuminates the myriad ways our culture shames women with example after example. Honestly, there are too many examples. I could have done with half the examples. It begins to feel like filler after a while. I was also stunned to hear exactly the same words in the first few chapters and occasionally later in the book that I heard on Men, Women and Shame. It seems to me that even if she wanted to use the same examples, finding different wording would make the whole thing seem less redundant. The sad part is *this* is the better book, but it's completely gender-biased.
I truly hope that someone is working very hard on giving us examples and tips for men, especially because even mental health professionals refused to admit that shame could touch men until recently. That alone is just another shaming experience for men, and since we're all in the world together, it would be great if everyone was on the same page.
I truly think Brown has hit on a foundational experience for human beings with this groundbreaking shame research and the way she has permeated pop culture with this information. I'm not a massive fan of pop-psychology, but she does it well and keeps it based in the research. And when it comes down to it, her work in shame is the basis for all of the rest of her work in vulnerability, acceptance, and all the other things she's suddenly known for.
i, all along, have had the strength to at least read and learn. i figured i'd die trying to heal and get to the bottom of this illness. this book came along at the perfect time for me. i had had a sneaking feeling that shame was a huge part of my problems, but didn't know how to deal with this, or what it actually meant, or how it was affecting my life, and my thinking.
Her book is a true gift; a treasure. not only is this book full of wisdom that warmed my heart, it's full of lots of hard work on her part to be as accurate as possible about something (shame) that seems so subtle and elusive. she nailed it! (her writing is style is very conversational, and easy to understand as well)
So much of this information sunk into my soul, and has healed me in many ways. On top of providing other's real and raw accounts of shame, and trying to be perfect.....yet remaining miserable, the author helps to build up our strength by showing us ways to not let shame take us down! that it's a learning process, but we really can change in small yet extremely significant ways. the thing is: if we don't know that it's shame.....we will stay stuck in our misery! this book is a key to unlock freedom to live our unique lives, because she calls it out....she speaks out!
i'm not saying i'm cured from my depression. but i will say that i am quite a few rungs up the ladder from the pit i was in. and this is largely due to the women speaking truth and reality in this book, and the author's candor.
i'm thankful for this author. that she had the desire and passion to study for over a decade about these issues. This, i believe, is going to be a huge movement in which we can learn, and then teach our children as well....
this book ,in my opinion, is like a missing puzzle piece for each person that reads. no one teaches us these things, yet they are the very things unfortunately, that drive us in our living! the information is invaluable. (it looks like she may be writing a book regarding men and shame too....looking forward to it!)
Top reviews from other countries
I also found the stories of shame experiences she included very unrealistic; almost all of them were of straight white middle class mothers feeling shame over their housework and being less than super-patient with their kids. She seemed to completely miss the experiences of men, working class people, those who aren’t parents and LGBT people. I think this was perhaps more from inexperience than done deliberately, but it meant the book missed a huge amount of potential; as it is so unrepresentative I feel only a very small number of people will be able to relate to what she is saying. As a gay woman who grew up poor and has no children I certainly couldn’t.
so I get to it today after finishing one of her other books which was the first ever book I read of hers.. only to find that within a written review included in the book, the word 'woman' popped up and I immediately thought, hang on, is this book aimed at woman then? as its one of those statements that gets you thinking
so I get into the introduction of the book and there was the confirmation, this book is aimed at woman.
and it is such a shame cos not only am I now not going to continue to read it, there is nothing on the title or back cover that let's you know its for 'WOMEN'..
and I don't think anyone could feel justified reading a book if it only has one specific audience.
Sad that it goes to the charity pile.