How do you feel about your imperfections?
We often want to hide our imperfections as much as possible. That makes sense in some ways. We dress so that we cover the lumps and bumps and imperfections of our bodies. Some women, and even men, also wear makeup to hide imperfections on their faces. Those behaviors can be helpful, but there’s more to feeling good about ourselves than our physical appearance.
What are we trying to do? Some may want to look as perfect as possible. Those feelings can be reinforced by looking at social media where people can look fabulous. In photos in magazines, we need to realize that those are often Photoshopped to make teeth whiter and waists smaller. But even after doing all we can to look better, people can still wonder if they will be accepted by others. We don’t always have the self confidence we need. We can feel “less than” and that’s not a good feeling. So here are three ways to stop struggling with our imperfections and instead, start embracing them.
1. Learn to love and nurture ourselves. Just because we have imperfections doesn’t mean we have to feel bad about them. We can accept our imperfections and recognize that we are enough — just as we are. I (Lynn) faced a difficult situation some time ago when my father was ill. I went to the care center where he was recuperating well from surgery.
There was a family member who was probably stressed, but very upset with me. It seemed I could never do anything right. Have you ever experienced that? I kept trying harder and harder to please, but to no avail. No matter how hard I tried, I kept thinking to myself that I was not enough. I went to the waiting room to renew a bit and there was a book by Billy Graham titled, “Just as I Am.”
It felt like a sign for me to know that, even though I have imperfections, I am enough, just as I am. Surprisingly, many people seem to suffer from this same feeling, that they are ‘not enough’. We all need to know that we are enough. Anna Quindlen said, “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
2. Learn to love and nurture ourselves. As we go through life it’s important that we are gentle with ourselves. There will be people who are kind to us, and there will be some people who are not so kind. We can’t always change negative people. We are all on a road facing joy and sorrow, good and bad in life.
When we can be kind, loving and understanding to ourselves and others, we’ll be able to show more compassion. Kerry Washington said, “I realized that I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect and beautiful journey of my life.”
3. Use our strengths more. Embracing imperfections doesn’t mean we just ignore trying to learn, grow and be better. We can continue to learn to use our strengths more and not make imperfections the focus of our life.
If we see that some imperfections are hindering us, then we can reach out and get help for them. Waiting to be perfect or to do something perfectly often gets people stuck and they get nothing done.
Sometimes people get caught in the trap of being afraid to do something because they think it won’t be good enough. They might also be afraid that if what they do is good, they won’t be able to sustain that success. That’s really being stuck! So, just do it! Henry Van Dyke said, “Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.”
What about you? What impact are your imperfections having on you? Does trying to be perfect stop you from doing what you really want to do and being the person you really want to be?
We encourage you to embrace your imperfections and know that you are enough, just as you are. And, yes, we all can keep learning and growing.
Ben Okri, said, “Where there’s perfection, there is no story to tell.” Our stories of imperfection can help us grow and help others who also struggle with their imperfections. Then as you embrace your imperfections, you’ll be able to go forward with a new sense of even more freedom and joy in your life.