How To Embrace Your Imperfections

Published on: January 31, 2016

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“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” ― Brené Brown

To embrace your imperfections, first let go of identifying yourself as inadequate and embody the wholeness of your being.

Consider the accompanying narrative of how our imperfections can be channelled correctly:

A water bearer had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One pot had a crack in it while the other was perfect and consistently delivered a whole portion of water.

One day, at the end of the long walk from the stream to his house, the cracked pot arrived half full. This continued daily for two years, with the bearer bringing home one and a half pots of water.

The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the cracked pot was embarrassed by its imperfection since it fulfilled only a fraction of what it was designed for.

After two years of what it regarded as disappointment, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the river. “I’m ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak all the way back to your house.” The bearer replied, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I’ve always known about your flaw. I sowed flower seeds on your side of the path and every day on our walk back to the house, you watered them.

“For two years I’ve picked these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being the way you are, I wouldn’t have this beauty to decorate the house.”

What you regard as limitations is good fortune clothed as hardship, yet when applied correctly can transform your life.

Accept yourself completely, knowing you possess a combination of qualities. Instead of bringing attention to your weaknesses, view them as gifts to transform into the wholeness of your being.

It’s pointless striving to become someone you’re not. To maintain a façade over time is exhausting and strips you of your authentic self.

It’s pointless striving to become someone you’re not. To maintain a façade over time is exhausting… Click To TweetWe are not attracted to others because of their virtues; their wholeness of character is what resonates with us most.

Consider being in a room of attractive people and notice the tendency to fixate on your own faults. It’s human nature to measure ourselves against others, though we need not subjugate our self-worth.

“In fact, it is the favourable comparisons that we draw against others not in our group that help to define who we are. This is how we formulate our identity – by focusing on what we are not. The trouble is that by focusing on others, we miss our own imperfections,” states author Bruce Hood in The Self Illusion: Why There is No ‘You’ Inside Your Head.

To accept your imperfections, cease trying to satisfy others. The more you aim to please, the less people are inclined to identify with you, because people-pleasing is a powerless state.

There are several leading actors and successful entrepreneurs with notable imperfections which they used to their advantage. Consider Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heavy accent which didn’t discourage him from becoming Hollywood’s most prominent star. Similarly, Richard Branson’s dyslexia had little hindrance when he was establishing his thriving billion-dollar Virgin empire.

Whilst I acknowledge the following wisdom is often given out, it is underutilised owing to its simplicity. The power of gratitude can help us to realise the wholeness of our character. A blemish on an apple does not make it inedible, but gives it further appeal.

Equally, vulnerability allows us to embrace our imperfections because we communicate the same intention to others. It shows our humanness, given that perfection is an unattainable ambition if we wish to lead an authentic life.

Without doubt, what you look for, you are certain to encounter.

We must be mindful of our shortcomings yet still bring our greatest work to life. As a further example, the actor Sylvester Stallone was once advised that his slurred speech would pose an obstacle to becoming an onscreen actor. Nevertheless, he channelled that objection to create a streak of successful films playing the lead character Rocky Balboa, the impoverished boxer hailing from the slums of Philadelphia.

“Our love is perfect. And even though we may not be, our love creates a bridge that spans over our imperfections and joins us where it matters.” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You

I appreciate the message from psychotherapist and author David Richo who affirms, “Error and errancy are not tragedies. They are ingredients of and directions to discovery. They show us paths that humble us, startle us, and point us to new horizons. They do not have to lead to regret or shame. We say yes to our imperfection and accept our mistakes.”

So, welcome your imperfections and stop regarding them as an impediment. Delight in them, while impacting the lives of others.

At some stage in our life, we subscribe to a distorted image that portrays people as perfect. Perhaps the media plays a role, yet this image is far removed from reality.

We must let go of striving for perfection and accept our true identity. We are complex beings and our physical appearance is one facet of our being. If we fixate on our imperfections whilst downplaying other aspects, we overlook the wholeness of who we are.

See yourself as a masterpiece beyond your shortcomings, replete with bold brushstrokes that… Click To TweetConsider viewing a masterpiece painting close up. Your attention is drawn to the bold brushstrokes that appear distracting to the eye. Yet, when you step back and view the painting from afar, you realise the beauty and complexity of those brushstrokes that appear to outline the entire picture.

See yourself as a masterpiece beyond your shortcomings, replete with bold brushstrokes that completes the whole person.

Transformational psychotherapist Linda Graham states in her book, Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, “Include an appreciation of your own wholeness and your goodness, all your strengths, all your weaknesses, including the ones your inner critic is currently harping on. Include your friend’s love and acceptance of you, exactly as you are, with all of your human imperfections, and their understanding of all the events that created your way of being and your particular flavor of the universally human inner critic.”

Our imperfections call us to exercise self-compassion with our inner critic.

Don’t abandon yourself when the inner critic judges your imperfections. See it as an opportunity to love and accept the disapproving part of you, instead of waging war. With concentrated attention, we reframe our inner dialogue to be more affirming.

We must honour our feelings and use it to examine what inflames our emotions. In this manner, we transform our inner dialogue to reaffirm our wholeness instead of focusing on our separateness.

You are born to be real not perfect.

There is no personal growth in a Utopian world and the last time I checked, we are a great way off Heaven, Nirvana or Paradise. We must quietly evolve into the highest version of ourselves.

Perfection is not the answer if we aspire to attain inner peace. It will lead us further astray because we’ll continuously strive to change aspects of ourselves we’re unhappy with.

Gratitude, however, opens the doorway to acceptance and a heart-centred focus.

In conclusion, your imperfections are based on an illusory perception that highlights one facet of your being.

You must welcome your imperfections so the wholeness of who you are is realised.

Afterall, it was Martin Luther King Jr. who declared, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

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