April 13, 2017

Imperfectly Perfect: Making Peace with Your Imperfections

Coming to terms with being Imperfectly Perfect isn’t just a skill, it’s a way of life. We grow up forming perceptions about what’s perfect and what’s not. But do we ever consider the implications of allowing our perception of perfection and imperfection to control us? Discover the true value behind imperfection so you can lead a happier and healthier life.

The age-old generalization nobody is perfect is humbling advice to even the best of us. In times of need, it's a gentle reminder that we're not perfect. That we're flawed. That we make mistakes. That we fail. And, that we're Human. And that, in some beautiful way, makes us imperfectly perfect.

Do you, like many others, struggle with accepting the imperfections in your life? Do you want to learn how to better deal with it? You're not alone. Here, you're going to find out how to make peace with your imperfections so you can start to 'see' and accept yourself for just the way you are.

Armed with the knowledge that everyone we encounter has the same basic demand for perfection, how, then, do we account for the stark difference between those who are genuinely content and those who are generally disturbed? We start, with accepting our own imperfections.

Being Imperfectly Perfect

1. Be Realistic

We can be tough on ourselves. Sometimes, perhaps, too tough and it can be taxing to our health and well-being. Upholding high standards and having high expectations is great but, if they are unrealistic, it sets us up for failure. We set ourselves up for success when we're realistic about our goals, demands, and expectations.

Being imperfectly perfect is being realistic. Expecting to deliver the "perfect speech" in one week or, to write the "perfect novel" in one month or, to create the "perfect product" in one year is unrealistic. Achieving such things takes time and effort. As a reality check for all of us Psychologist Jeff Szymanski, Ph.D., writes in The Perfectionist’s Handbook:
“As a rule of thumb, you’re operating within the realm of healthy perfectionism when your payoffs are greater than your costs, you are striving for and meeting standards you set for yourself, and you value organization.”

2. Reframe Your Thoughts

Life Coaches, New Age Gurus, and Motivational Speakers often ask their clientele, “can you picture your perfect life?” The question is directed towards helping people ‘breakthrough’ their mental boundaries. “Mental traps,” in a sense, that hold individuals back from what they are actually capable of achieving. The purpose behind the question is to help reframe the patients' thoughts, unlock their potential, and better come to terms with being imperfectly perfect.

Research by Dr. Joachim Stoeber and Dr. Dirk Janssen from the University of Kent’s School of Psychology supports the idea of reframing. They carried out a study involving 149 students who were required to keep a diary to document their personal failures and their associated emotional responses. The response methods were categorized as either Positive Reframing (i.e. finding the good in what happened or identifying ways to overcome the failure) or Negative Reframing (i.e. venting, self-abasement, blaming, etc.). Amongst the results, the study found students who endured failure and reframed it positively were conclusively happier than those who did not. As a result of the findings, Dr. Stoeber advises:
“It is more helpful to try to accept what happened, look for positive aspects and – if it is a small thing – have a laugh about it."

3. Embrace Your Individuality

Whether it be famous figures on Instagram, popular YouTubers, or celebrities in our news feed, from time to time, we all find ourselves following others. We follow them because we want to be like them, look like them, do what they do, and have what they have. The trouble is, we’re portrayed with what a perfect and beautiful body looks like, and what a perfect and fabulous life looks like it can disconnect us from our own reality and our own individuality. We begin to chase things beyond our reach and expect to have things we can’t attain.

What, then, can you do? Instead of following what everyone else is doing, or what ‘so-called’ experts tell you, listen to your inner voice. Embrace your individuality by listening your own thoughts, rather than those of others. You'll not only have the chance to express your individuality but to also increase your chances of success. “Just be yourself, let people see the real imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, and unique person that you are” says Mandy Hale. Because who knows, your individuality may just be the imperfectly perfect person this world needs.

4. Make Peace with Yourself

Training your mind to respond favorably to imperfections will not only keep you healthy but also happy. Everyone fails to varying degrees. The difference is people who have made peace with imperfection still loves themselves despite the fact. This is not to be confused this with “self-absorption.” To be self-absorbed is to ignore your imperfections and the imperfections of others. Instead, think of it as Self-Respect. Learn, to accept your imperfections and move on in a way that works for you. When you learn to properly tailor responses to life’s failures, imperfection won’t keep you down.
You reach love not by finding the right person.
But seeing an imperfect person as perfect.

5. Have Fun with it

When taking on a project or getting involved with a task, make enjoyment a top priority! Chances are, not everything you had planned will go to plan. It’s part of what makes life unpredictable, random, interesting, and, of course, imperfectly perfect. Nothing can make time go slower than doing something that we don’t enjoy.

The more we allow ourselves to play, be curious, and be adventurous, the more joy and content we are with our imperfect selves and the imperfectly perfect world around us. Whatever it is you find yourself involved in, have fun with it. Imperfections are all around us. They always have been and always will be. But, if you can train your mind to ‘see’ the joy, the delight, and the positives, you, my friend, will have mastered the art of being imperfectly perfect.

See also: 5 Strategies for Successfully Overcoming Perfectionism.

Perfecting Your Grasp on Imperfections

Take a look in the mirror. What about imperfection makes you unhappy? Is the job you landed less exciting than you had hoped it would be? Or, are you convinced that facial imperfection of yours is what's holding you back from getting the next date? The reality is, there are all sorts of imperfections which are entirely beyond our control. But by working to accept them, and move on, you can be happier despite them—or even because of them.

Here’s a tip. Rather than viewing things as imperfect begin to look through another lens. Instead of focusing on what's wrong, focus on what's right. Instead of telling yourself everything that's wrong with your life, why not tell yourself everything that's actually good about it? Find a way, that works for you, to accept the imperfections you cannot control.

It's a lot like the coping mechanism of learning how to deal with frustration. Set realistic demands and expectations on your time, thoughts, and energy. You'll find, what looked like a never-ending list of imperfections in the past will suddenly seem like a list of things you can confidently work towards over time. Even if you fail, you'll know that the weight of failure is only temporary so long as you treat yourself with the respect you'd give to anyone else trying their best.

So, for the times you need it. Look directly at your reflection and remind yourself:
"You are Imperfectly Perfect!"