If you look through squinted eyes you can see it.
The gifts of imperfection, they are all around us.
The challenge is the illusion of perfection.
We see it in the media, on the billboards, in your social feeds.
It seems, we seek to constantly achieve it.
Perhaps to overcome our own self-doubt…
Or, perhaps to overcome our own imposter syndrome?
But is perfection really attainable?
Or, is it something fabricated by the mind to keep us constantly striving for the perfect idea that is just out of reach?
Perhaps this is what makes us better?
Perhaps this constant striving is what has helped us evolve has humans…?
It’s a conundrum I’d say.
An elusive enigma that can never quite be reached.
Or can it?
I don’t know that anything is 100% “perfect.”
Perhaps on the surface level it may seem to be perfect but if you dig a little deeper, you’re bound to find a few flaws.
As webster defines it, “perfect” is “to make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.”
One of the gifts of imperfection is truly embracing that perfection is in the eye of the beholder.
What I might think is exquisite beauty and perfection, like the sunlight lighting up the bright fuchsia feathers of the hummingbird’s throat sitting in a nearby tree, you might think, “what’s the big deal? It’s just a bird.”
I believe that we would be far better served by looking for the beauty that lies within the Imperfections of life.
The imperfections within each person you meet.
Especially within yourself.
This would give us such freedom from constantly trying to one-up another.
To be better than.
Instead of just being who we are… fully, completely, authentically, perfectly imperfect.
Just as we are.
It is in this imperfection that we are free to show up more wholly, and without hesitation.
Imagine for just a moment…
How would you move through the world differently if you knew you weren’t being judged by anyone?
If it didn’t matter if you weren’t at your best today?
If your hair wasn’t done just right and your makeup just so?
(yes, I grew up in the south and it IS a thing…).
Imagine, if you could just relax in your skin fully and…
What would life be like from this place?
I reached out to my Rewire For Success community to get their take on this perfectly imperfect conundrum.
Here are some of the other amazing gifts of imperfection to be found all around us and within us.
I simply asked this question: “What things in life are better because they’re imperfect?” (Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments and help continue to grow the list!)
My dear friend Marvin, who has a perfectly imperfect and inquisitive mind was the one who had posed the question to me to begin with, so let’s start here with his thoughts…
“Like designing a brand for a client, I often have to throw out the first ideas that come to mind because they are my mind emptying itself of the stuff that is in the way of the truly creative work to come. The first three imperfections here are like that perhaps.
Just “perfect answers.” Things that you expect to read. (To Marvin)… They are boring and do not offer emotive connections. (I still find them very on point and fascinating observations).
- When someone is imperfect, they become relatable. Often, we think that our “perfectionism” draws others to us. We crave connection. But that “perfectionism” is so unrelatable by the very people we want to connect with, that it actually pushes them away from us unconsciously.
- Accepting my imperfectness allows (and encourages) me to accept the flaws in others. Without that approach, I will end up having not-so-subtle judgmental looks and words that seep out of me, no matter how carefully I try to mask them.
- Reflecting on my past imperfections can bring smiles to me and even make me laugh at some of the silly mistakes I have made.
The above is the “science” of this topic.
I want to translate that to the “sexy” because it is far more easy to connect with. What I am learning as I write these is that the things I seek to put in the list are not merely things that bring joy or a smile to me.
- A toddler’s mixed-up words – you know what they meant, but often they say it in a way that brings new, fresh meaning to your understanding, and a lifetime of smiles and warmth as we recount them to each other.
- The wedding ceremony that has flaws – 20 years on, those are the stories that warm our hearts and that people cannot wait to hear about.
- That quirkiness in our partner that makes them unique to us as if they are the only one in the world “It drives me bonkers when they xyz, but they wouldn’t be themselves without that behavior.”
- Wrinkles around my eyes – They tell a story of a life in ways that words often cannot: the laughter, the struggles against the flow and even the failures.
- A quickly written text to tell someone you are thinking of them rather than waiting for the perfect moment to draft a letter. That perfect moment rarely arrives, thus nothing gets said.
- Slightly burned (Marshmallows, hotdogs, toast) come with more love methinks.
- A collection of things that has emotive meaning to you, like Owen’s collection…
- Off key birthday songs. Who doesn’t like the childlikeness of belting out with laughter the birthday song to your friend of many years? It floods us with the warmth and laughter of the best of childhood years.
- Old books that have been well used over the decades. Especially if it is a well-worn Bible with notes from your mom in the margins.
- A frayed greeting card that someone has held onto for that special occasion – it happened to me. Some very poor elderly people gave me a Christmas card that someone had clearly had in their purse for many years. It has meant the world to me to that have that one = creased and fuzzy – because it came from their hearts. Sorta like the biblical story of “the elderly poor widow’s mites” where Jesus says she gave more with her 2 half pennies than the wealthy rulers gave with their bags of silver and gold. They gave from their abundance…she gave from her heart”.
- A hand made (most anything from cake to craft) thing including a handwritten note (as opposed to the same thing said in an email).” ~Marvin Schlaak
The gifts of imperfection range far and wide, large and small.
Here are some more from my own perspective:
- The one white whisker on my all-black cat
- The flecks of paint that inadvertently went where they weren’t supposed to and made the finished painting that much better
- The peace of mind that comes from being able to laugh at yourself and all those silly mistakes we’ve made in life and the wisdom to know that those mistakes have made us a better, strong, more resilient person
- Being able to recognize the imperfections of our parents, their wounds and their flaws which inadvertently directly shaped our lives, and love them despite their imperfections instead of holding them to a higher standard of parental perfection.
- The freedom and time savings that comes from knowing that 90% of perfection (versus 100%) is pretty dang good in most cases.
- The knowing that our imperfections are what make us so very unique as individuals and sets us apart from the rest of the world.
- The simple shift in your perspective of taking that perceived “flaw” (in humans or otherwise), can turn it into a powerful positive attribute. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure… ~Michele
And some additional gifts of imperfection from my community:
- “Everything good “~ Pat Cusick
- “Me. I’ve learned to accept who I am and how I am” ~ Nancy Marmolejo
- “My baby bit into my brand-new pine bed frame with his two new front teeth. The bed became permanently and uniquely min at that moment. A constant beautiful remind for decades.” ~ Yolaine Stout
- “Most fruits and vegetables” ~ Cynthia Bradley Lowe
- “My husbands were each imperfect but mor comfortable because of it” ~ Ann Hopkins
- “Artichokes, avocados, and bananas” ~ Sharon Newell
- “Freckles” ~ Beth Davis
- “The way little children do anything they are trying to learn” ~ Sharon Newell
- “Any practice you are working on, such as your meditation practice, yoga practice or something like that.” ~ Lori Vajda
- “Your grandchildren’s artwork” ~ Sharon Newell
- “Me” ~ Gale Daly & Ray Erikson
As you can see, the subtle gifts of imperfection can improve your life immensely. And if you feel brave enough, I’d love to know what makes your favorite perfectly imperfect list?
Michele Molitor, C-Hyp is a certified coach and hypnotherapist and co-author of “Breakthrough Healing.” For 20 years, she has worked with talented, professional women, helping them overcome imposter syndrome and reclaim their confidence to create a thriving career and life. Connect with her directly to help eliminate your anxiety and limiting self-beliefs from your mindset once and for all.