I is for our Interesting Imperfections
Updated: Jul 26
“The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.” Alden Nowlan
I discovered a new combination of words the other day “a perfect imperfection”, it was described a flaw that is so perfect that it no longer appears as a flaw. I had often heard the phrase that we are perfectly imperfect but somehow these two new words and definition had more meaning to me.
I think that the notions of “perfect” and “imperfect” are limited anyway as their suitability is situational at best and often impermanent. They are artificial concepts with no real connection to reality and are often misused by people to coerce or criticise themselves or each other.
The attempt to be perfect is the epitome of insanity. When one thinks of imperfection, one immediately thinks of flaws in a negative context. If we think about what we perceive as our own flaws we often try to find ways to hide them behind masks or look to ‘fix’ or ‘remove’ aspects of our personality rather than look at ways to embrace our imperfections. While it’s never a bad thing to seek different ways to improve oneself, this must be done with a careful eye on balance. We don’t need to “fix” ourselves before we are acceptable to ourselves or anyone else; we are worthy just as we are.
“Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.”
Julius Charles Hare
It is more helpful to look at our perceived imperfections with acceptance, as something that makes us unique and sets us apart from others. These differences are part of our character and allow us to bring something different and valuable ‘to the table’ rather than be part of a “cookie-cutter society” where everything and everyone is the same and has no ‘added value’.
"I didn’t realize that trying to fit myself into everyone else’s perceptions and society’s perception of 'normal' was denying everyone and the world of all my gifts and who I really was.” Jaclyn Witt
Imperfections are interesting; they make something stand out from the norm. All our life experiences leave a mark physically, mentally or emotionally. It is those experiences that help shape us into who we are. If we don’t fight, but rather embrace all these experiences as opportunities for growth, we will develop strength and resilience and the way you see yourself and the rest of the world will change for the better.
“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.”
Robert H. Schuller
We are all a masterpiece yet also a work-in-progress at the same time. The most important thing that we can do is to focus on our own individual progress and not compare ourselves to others. All our imperfections and mistakes are simply learning experiences that help us gain wisdom. When we learn to work with them, it takes power from our perceptions of their negativity.
"Learning to embrace yourself and your imperfections gives you the resilience needed to thrive." Kristin Neff
No-one is perfect, they never have been and never will be; not even the people who seem to be and seem to have it all. Perfection is an illusion. Wise people never stop their growth process, they always accept themselves as imperfect and that is behind their self-motivation to become a better-version of themselves.
Do not compare your ‘insides’ to other people’s 'outsides’. Others may ‘look’ perfect, or seem like they’ve got it all together, but that is just your interpretation. Under their appearances of perfection, they too have their own internal struggles. Each one of us is imperfect, in our own “perfect” way.
“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.” Brené Brown
When we live with this balance between growth and acceptance, it is important to remember that the people that make up our social circle and influence our lives, be it family or friends, will reflect, resonate and subconsciously (or even consciously) influence our sense of worth so it is important to choose the people that surround us wisely. We need to surround ourselves with positive, forward- thinking people that will either encourage us to love and embrace all parts of ourselves or help us to see certain of our "imperfections" in a different light.
“Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.” Henry Van Dyke
“Human nature dictates that people have a hard time genuinely connecting with, being close to, or really trusting other humans who (pretend to) have no weaknesses, flaws, or mistakes.' Who wants that?" (trendwatching.com)
This connection through our imperfections is possible because we are all ‘flawsome’.
“We learn as much by others’ failings as by their teachings. Examples of imperfection are just as useful for achieving perfection as are models of competence and perfection.” Magdeleine Sable
We are able to see ourselves in others who struggle, but it is still possible to enjoy what our imperfect qualities bring to the table and this leads us to feel a positive and inspiring connection towards others.
“You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” Brene Brown
When you can learn to take your imperfections, learn to love them (or at the very least, accept them), and turn them into something that can spread inspiration, it allows you to reach out authentically to other people or friends struggling with the same acceptance and share your story and experiences. Not only will you gain confidence in your imperfections but you will help them become kinder to themselves along the way.
“There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen
Some questions to think about/or discuss below:
What do you see as your imperfections? Are they physical or imperfections of personality?
How can you learn to accept, love or take responsibility and change these traits?
Why not try and change your mindset and instead of focusing on the negativity of your traits, see what positivity they bring? e.g. if you think that you are too reserved and quiet, see how that in fact can aid you to be a better listener or observer.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” John Lennon
If you want to reflect more on this subject here are a few links to get you started: