the magic is in the mess

iStock_000004575828SmallI first wrote about the holiday gremlins a couple of years ago. As I read the old post earlier this week I realized that it’s still 100% true for me (and I needed the reminder) so I thought I’d share it with y’all:

This time of year can be a perfectionism minefield. My expectations always need radical reality-checking  and that normally comes in the form of a total meltdown. The good news is that I often have a lot more fun on the backside of my breakdown when I start letting go and leaning into the crazy.

As I think about my own life and reflect upon what many of the people around me are going through this Christmas, it’s clear that struggle doesn’t take off for the holidays. The gremlins don’t go on vacation. Checks bounce, chemotherapy appointments are scheduled, relationships keep unravelling, being alone feels even lonelier, and the “never enoughs” are in full swing.

As I prepare to spend the next few days with my family and friends, I’ve decided to find my holiday magic in the mess; to practice love and gratitude with the special group of folks who keep showing up and loving me, not despite my vulnerabilities, but because of them.

I wish you a blessed mess and a Wholehearted 2014!

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  1. DORI

    This is my first time on the blog. The holidays are past and I am beginning new pain work. Brene’s knowledge and guidance is helping with my pain journey in keeping me focused on being present, as awful as it can be on some days. This works needs to be done so that I can open my heart and let all the colors of the rainbow out, like balloons floating in the air and embrace who I am and my place in this world.

  2. Robin

    Brene,
    Thank you so much for your words and perspective on life. I’m currently having a (breakdown) spiritual awakening and your books, e-course and Lifeclass appearances have been helping me so much. I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2014.

  3. Pingback: Magic. Mess. Really? | parentinginpublic

  4. Marilou Zachary

    I almost totally shut down at Christmastime because of ‘not enough’. I send New Year’s Day cards and vow to send everyone BD gifts because they didn’t get anything for Christmas; unfortunately I just can’t seem to get it done. Too much pressure to have the perfect gift. I love my family; they love me despite my feelings of inadequacies; I’m just learning to let them love me.

  5. Phillip Sperry

    Hi Brene — I have been calling you for a while and believe that you’re honest researcher. So I to say to ask you this question not completely you do with your research but with research in general.

    sometimes I get the impression that researchers reach a conclusion at some point in their study and then there is a divergence. This divergence as I see it is a point where the you research, the data, no longer Leeds to the conclusion but insteadthe conclusion please the research. I’m not sure if this makes any sense but it seems at some point of it there is a shift where the hypothesis influences the researchrather than the research sleeping tonight offices

  6. Candace Frazer

    I am reading/studying The Gifts of Imperfection, and you have inspired me in ways you will probably never know. I, for so long, have lived with my head down, and now you have given me the courage to walk in the path that GOD has laid out for me, feeling a sense of worthiness. Thank you so much for allowing me to release myself from my bondage of shame. May GOD continue to bless and use you to speak to the lost as I was.

    Best regards for a Happy, Healthy, & Prosperous New Year!
    Candace

  7. Kathy

    I wanted to share something I did this holiday. This is something I was able to do this year instead of feeling lonely and depressed, I have read Brene Brown over and over, have her audio CD’s and I am so grateful for how it has turned the holidays around for me. This is what I did…….and I would love to send Brene a pickle ornament as well…….
    PICKLE ORNAMENT PEOPLE
    In Germany the pickle ornament has its own meaning and its meaning can be found in the ornament box you received, but the pickle ornament you received today has its own quirky story and more personal meaning that I would like to share with you………….
    I have ALWAYS somehow felt that the holidays were for people who had the love of their life at their side or had their own children. Maybe this stems from my “glass half empty” mentality, but in believing this, the holidays have ALWAYS been tough for me. This year haunted by the same thoughts and feeling like a “failure” for not having either the “great man” or the children, I decided to try something different, something that I have been reading and learning about…..which is the antidote for this type of thinking. This antidote is a wonderful concept called gratitude.
    It started off simple, I wanted to show my appreciation for a small group I call “Team Pickleback”. “Team Pickleback” works for a firm connected to an account I used to work on at my job. This group consists of people who I have come to adopt and consider friends. They are a group of people who always seem to have a way of uplifting me with an email, a chat on the phone, a quote or with a night out. We work in a tough industry where people are not always nice (and that’s putting it mildly :). Having this small group makes my working life a bit brighter and I feel grateful for each one of them. I decided I wanted to get them a small token of my appreciation and I decided a pickle ornament would do the trick.
    After getting the ornament, adding a tag and wrapping it, I began to think about the other people in my life who uplift me. I, then, decided to extend this thought/concept/gift and decided to give a pickle ornament to all the other people in my life who make me feel the same way…..and so the ordering began.
    If you have received this, it is because you have made my life a little brighter, made me laugh a little harder or just made me feel good about myself. It is my hope that you can hang this on your tree, desk or somewhere else special and when you see it, it makes you smile and it lets you know I feel grateful to have you in my life.
    After assigning each pickle, I gave myself a pickle as well. That pickle is hanging on my desk, it reminds me of all the “Pickle Ornament People” in my life and it is a constant reminder to turn around my “half empty” way of thinking and to be grateful 
    I wish you the BEST holiday, thank you again for being in my life and maybe just maybe I can get you to think of the “Pickle Ornament People” in your life. All the best,

  8. Kathy

    I wanted to share something I did this holiday thanks to Brene’s work………if possible I would love to send Brene a pickle ornament as well (see below)…..
    PICKLE ORNAMENT PEOPLE
    In Germany the pickle ornament has its own meaning and its meaning can be found in the ornament box you received, but the pickle ornament you received today has its own quirky story and more personal meaning that I would like to share with you………….
    I have ALWAYS somehow felt that the holidays were for people who had the love of their life at their side or had their own children. Maybe this stems from my “glass half empty” mentality, but in believing this, the holidays have ALWAYS been tough for me. This year haunted by the same thoughts and feeling like a “failure” for not having either the “great man” or the children, I decided to try something different, something that I have been reading and learning about…..which is the antidote for this type of thinking. This antidote is a wonderful concept called gratitude.
    It started off simple, I wanted to show my appreciation for a small group I call “Team Pickleback”. “Team Pickleback” works for a firm connected to an account I used to work on at my job. This group consists of people who I have come to adopt and consider friends. They are a group of people who always seem to have a way of uplifting me with an email, a chat on the phone, a quote or with a night out. We work in a tough industry where people are not always nice (and that’s putting it mildly :). Having this small group makes my working life a bit brighter and I feel grateful for each one of them. I decided I wanted to get them a small token of my appreciation and I decided a pickle ornament would do the trick.
    After getting the ornament, adding a tag and wrapping it, I began to think about the other people in my life who uplift me. I, then, decided to extend this thought/concept/gift and decided to give a pickle ornament to all the other people in my life who make me feel the same way…..and so the ordering began.
    If you have received this, it is because you have made my life a little brighter, made me laugh a little harder or just made me feel good about myself. It is my hope that you can hang this on your tree, desk or somewhere else special and when you see it, it makes you smile and it lets you know I feel grateful to have you in my life.
    After assigning each pickle, I gave myself a pickle as well. That pickle is hanging on my desk, it reminds me of all the “Pickle Ornament People” in my life and it is a constant reminder to turn around my “half empty” way of thinking and to be grateful 
    I wish you the BEST holiday, thank you again for being in my life and maybe just maybe I can get you to think of the “Pickle Ornament People” in your life. All the best,

  9. Jessica DeFilippo

    You have been an inspiration for me at a time of large change. The blessing has been that while the holidays were entirely disorienting for me the 2nd year in a row. You have allowed me to begin to go easy on me on the inside. Thank you Brene