I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough"

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4.4
80 reviews
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336
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About this ebook

Researcher, thought leader, and New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown offers a liberating study on the importance of our imperfections—both to our relationships and to our own sense of self

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.”
4.4
80 reviews
Ella McC
February 3, 2018
I listened and read in the wrong order, sort of. I wrote about my obsession with Brown's chatty "Men, Women and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough" in January. What I wanted more than anything after that was a deeper dive. Turns out, she wrote one back in 2007, and here it is! 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.
23 people found this review helpful
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Amanda Emanuel
March 29, 2015
Loved this book!! It spoke to me on so many levels.
40 people found this review helpful
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Scott Gaskell
March 10, 2015
This points out a good starting point to recovering from a lifetime of shame of which you may not have even been aware.
35 people found this review helpful
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About the author

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation–Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. She is also a visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. Brown has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead, which is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership. She hosts the Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead podcasts, and her TEDx talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world with more than 50 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix. The Call to Courage special debuted on the streaming service on April 19, 2019. Brené Brown lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie.

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