Beauty of Imperfection

Is imperfection your friend or foe?

A Rusty old coffee pot, a vintage wooden chest and a stack of worn books… What do you see?  A heap of scrap or the makings of a beautiful decorated corner?

I have such a sentimental corner.  And oh, does it give me joy! Does it mean the pot is perfect? Hell NO!! Let’s face it, it has been ages since it could hold water; it is rusted right through with a few added flat spot to boot.  I like it because of its imperfections.  Maybe you also have something vintage or shabby chic and we use it to decorate our homes or gardens because we can ‘bring it to glory’ so to speak. 

I was very recently reminded that this beauty is definitely a perception when our mover asked why we bothered packing old scrap items.  That should tell you that I have quite a few such ornaments for my garden too.  I realized then that the beauty or worth of these obscure items are determined by the owner.

And that goes for us as well.  Let’s face it, we are all gloriously imperfect, but our worth is determined by our Owner, the One Who created us.  And we are loved because of and despite of our imperfections.

“No one is perfect” is a phrase we often use (but most often only when it suits us, right?) But do we like it?  Why do so many of us women have a ‘perfectionist streak’?  I’m not talking about excellence, but those things you do that might even irritate you some days… Why is it so difficult being vulnerable and showing our imperfections to others?  Maybe because we don’t see the beauty in it

One of the best books I’ve read in my quest to equip myself better as coach and mentor, was a book by dr Brenè Brown: “The gifts of imperfection”.

She starts off this book with this statement:

“Owning your story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”

She says in chapter one: “We all struggle with shame and the fear of not being enough, and many of us are afraid to let our true selves be seen and known.  But there are also countless stories of people living inspiring lives – those are the stories of the power of embracing imperfection and vulnerability.  These are the stories of people who trusted themselves and talked about authenticity, love and belonging.  People living and loving with their whole hearts – people loving themselves. This journey is equal parts heart work and head work. “

This really resonated with me mainly because it was so true for my own journey to self-love and being brave enough to let myself be seen and known

As I reflected on the book and on my own journey, I’ve realized the value of embracing imperfection and seeing the beauty hidden within it. This is what I came up with:

The beauty of imperfection is that it allows you:

I          Integrity 

To be true to who you are and not who you think people want you to be; To be authentic and live with integrity (with your quirks and all – because everyone has them, after all)

M       Maturity

Imperfection helps you grow to maturity – spiritually, emotionally & socially; It allows you the space to grow, as long as you stay teachable.

P         Peace

Choose inner peace instead of performing for worthiness, belonging and acceptance

E         Empathy

You can only have empathy/compassion with yourself and others if you go through these struggles of being imperfect.  It allows for the gift of empathy to grow.

R Relationships

We are designed for connection and true connection comes with vulnerability about our imperfections, needs, joys and struggles.  Together we smooth out our collective imperfections.

F         Faith

Live by and through faith.  Cannot do this thing called life, on our own understanding.  Having faith that our imperfections together with God’s grace is enough to be & do what we are supposed to.

E         Embrace

Embracing life with all its joys, quirks & challenges

C         Courage

To share the story of who you are with your whole heart. To open up and connect. Choose courage over comfort every time! Live brave. If we were perfect, we would not need to cultivate courage, or thereby encourage others to do the same.

T         Trust

Trust yourself, others and God on this journey as you grow

I          Inspiration & Innovation

To try to do better, try new things and lean into the discomfort of risking failure to experience the joy. Some of the greatest artwork, inventions and creativity are inspired by imperfection, joy, love and heartache, etc.  

O         Overjoyed

Find the joy in all things – small things, people, circumstances. To have sustainable joy, actively practice gratitude; laugh at yourself more. Joy fills the gaps.

N        Never judge

Our imperfections allow us to have grace – no one is perfect, remember! Instead of criticizing, see the beauty of imperfection in those around you.

Sometimes we need to renew our thinking with these affirming principles. I’ve found it useful to have something visual to help keep my thoughts captive and not letting them fall into negative patterns. So, I’m sharing this postcard with you. Please print it out and stick it up somewhere meaningful for you – somewhere it will catch your eye and remind you that…

You are beautifully and wonderfully made and you are fabulously imperfect.  Embrace the journey of becoming!  Living bravely is indeed possible!

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