I’ve written numerous articles related to this theme over the years, because it is something that I have found to be so important professionally and personally.
“Imperfections are not inadequacies: they’re reminders that we are all in this together.”- Brene Brown
Our imperfections are what makes us human. Our strengths and our flaws are what define us. Nobody is perfect! Everyone has flaws! You just have to find a way to live with them (even better – embrace them). But just because everyone has imperfections doesn’t mean it is easy to handle them. Sometimes we find it very hard to embrace and accept our flaws. We set unrealistically high standards for ourselves and when we fail to achieve them, we beat ourselves up.
Then We measure our self-worth through our accomplishments. We often find ourselves in denial regarding our flaws. This constant obsession that many have with leaving no room for errors and being perfect all the time can be seriously damaging to our confidence and self-esteem. If your desire to be perfect all the time is affecting your perception of self-worth and is causing you self-doubt then know that you can benefit from learning how to accept and embrace your imperfections. Here are 8 tips that will help you embrace your flaws.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others
Even though we are all imperfect and have our fair share of flaws, we often believe the others are perfect. We can feel like we are the only ones not living up to our own expectations while others are out living their perfect lives. We might think that we are the only ones struggling; be it with our careers, our diet, or our families.
Much of the blame goes to the emergence of social media. Social media feeds perfectionism and idealism. When people with perfectionist tendencies see influencers who apparently have it all, perfect kids, perfect marriage, healthy body, large house, branded clothes, luxury holidays, and successful careers, they instantly start comparing their own lives with the lives of these individuals. Or they see friends and peers sharing highlights of their own lives depicting happiness and perfection (which are very rarely accurate accounts of life in general).
And this is where it all starts to go downhill. Comparing yourself to others often turns self-destructive. It brings up feelings of worthlessness and envy, low self-esteem, depression, and demotivation. Even though it is in our nature as humans to measure ourselves to others, we should learn not to evaluate our own self-worth on the basis of this. Author Bruce Hood says, “we formulate our identity — by focusing on what we are not. The trouble is that by focusing on others, we miss our own imperfections.” Learn to let go of this harsh self-scrutiny and go easy on yourself. Set the same standards for yourself as you set for others. If you feel it is okay for others to make mistakes, it should be fine for you too. Don’t hold yourself to unrealistically high standards.
Read this article for more on this topic: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others.
Don’t fall into the rabbit hole of perfectionism
We often believe that perfectionism is positive. That your obsessive need to be perfect all the time is desirable since it leads to ambition, growth, progress and success. But recently behavioural scientists have discovered that hidden side effects of perfectionism are very dangerous and include a never-ending list of health problems and disorders. Katie Rasmussen, researcher of child development says that “As many as two in five kids and adolescents are perfectionists. We’re starting to talk about how it’s heading toward an epidemic and public health issue.” Meta-analysis on the rates of perfectionism suggests that perfectionism is increasing at an alarming rate. Perfectionism not only makes one unproductive, but it has also been linked to many serious health conditions.
Sarah Eagan, a research fellow at Curtin University, says that “There are studies that suggest that the higher the perfectionism is, the more psychological disorders you’re going to suffer.” Insomnia, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and several eating disorders are very common in people with perfectionist tendencies. The fact that perfectionist are extremely stress-sensitive helps explain all these disorders and health issues associated with perfectionism really well. Luckily perfectionism is not something you are born with. It is a way of thinking and how you perceive yourself. Although it can be very challenging, it is not impossible to overcome perfectionism.
Lowering the pressure on yourself, becoming less risk averse, trying more new things, setting reasonable goals for yourself, and making yourself more open to receiving criticism can help you manage your perfectionism. Just be consistent with your efforts, after there isn’t anything, time won’t heal. And like Rasmussen said “[overcoming perfectionism is] about creating an environment where imperfection isn’t just accepted but is celebrated, because it means we’re human.”
Choose freedom over perfectionism
It can be very taxing to be perfect all the time. Know that you don’t need to prove your worth. You don’t have to measure up to other peoples’ success, power, wealth, and their ideas of perfection. You don’t have to be afraid of letting others down all the time, do you! Being perfect so others are pleased can be exhausting and both physically and mentally draining. Do what makes you happy. Stop trying to meet the standards set by the society for you.
Societal expectations often take away your freedom from you. Accept that being a human being, you are imperfect and can only do what is humanly possible. Embrace your flaws, let go of expectations and fear of disappointment and regain your freedom. Some people will like you and some won’t. But that shouldn’t change the way you see yourself. Make a conscientious choice to choose yourself over others and it’ll likely have a positive effect upon you and your life.
One of the more important things you can do to embrace your imperfections is to become more self-accepting. You can do so by being less self-critical. Self-talk is the inner conversation that we tend to have with ourselves. Negative self-talk is a form of self-criticism. If you wish to embrace your flaws and imperfections we advise you to avoid negative self-talk as much as you can. While positive self-talk can make you more confident and empowered, self-criticism can seriously hamper your performance and be damaging to your mental and physical well-being. Try being more compassionate with yourself. Don’t engage in self-loathing behaviour and stop beating yourself up for every small mistake you make. Self-criticism is precisely what you don’t need when you are trying to become more accepting of your imperfections.
Another thing you can do to become more self-accepting is to experience less influence from people who are trying to pull you down. If people are criticising you, giving backhanded compliments to you, and pointing out your shortcomings don’t overthink it and distance yourself from that person in whatever way suits you best. You can also become more self-accepting by accepting affirmation and compliments from others. Not only does this bolster your self-esteem, but it also helps improve the way you feel about yourself. It is rude and impolite to reject a compliment. So next time, when someone compliments you and say you look good, don’t go on stating reasons why you don’t. Say thank you!
Try to not fall a prey to unrealistic standards. Our world is full of such standards which make us feel insecure about ourselves. The first step of trying to avoid such standards is to recognise their existence. Being a perfect student, measuring up to a family member, and having a perfect body are a few examples of such artificial standards that makes us go hard on ourselves. Spot such unrealistic standards in your life that make you self-critical and try to eliminate them from your life in order to become more self-accepting.
Read this great articles for more on this topic:
See your weaknesses as strengths (reframe them)
Everyone has both weaknesses and strengths. Accepting that you have weaknesses and then seeing them as your strengths can really help you embrace your imperfections. For example, you may not be very organised and don’t like planning things well ahead of time. Many people would consider it a weakness. They would argue that poor organisation and planning decreases productivity and can hinder one’s ability to get things done on time.
Moreover, lack of organisational skills can wreak havoc on one’s life. People might forget to take care of their health, and this might contribute to increased stress and depression. However, if you were to see this weakness as a strength, you should consider your lack of planning and organisational skills as a way to be more spontaneous and flexible. Spontaneity offers a plethora of benefits. People who are flexible and spontaneous always stay fresh and active.
They are high spirited, always excited for where for life offers them. Spontaneous people also have a positive outlook of life. They pull out the good from everything and as a result they are less stress as compared to other people who are not very spontaneous. They navigate life’s challenges in a much better way. Perceiving your weakness as a strength and then making a list of ways it makes you a better person, can help you embrace your imperfections by making you see how you can put your weaknesses to good use.
Laugh at yourself more often
Having flaws is a part of being real and authentic. Always trying to control your imperfections and putting up a tough front means you are not being true to yourself. There are things that are beyond your control. Instead of wasting your time and energy being perfect, realise that it is humanly impossible to be perfect all the time. Let go of control and let lose. A little indulgence can do you a lot of good. Go outside, take a nap, take a break, and do what your heart desires.
Having fun every once in a while can offer you a sense of engagement and can make you live in the moment. Letting loose and living in the moment can also make you realise that you are human, and it is totally natural to have imperfections and be vulnerable. Know that people who really love you and care for you would love you with your imperfections. This would in turn help you embrace your imperfections and love yourself with your flaws.
Know that you deserve confidence
Tell yourself that you deserve to feel more empowered and confident, and you are truly confident when you fully accept all your flaws and imperfections. Confidence is something you need to be more resilient and to be more motivated. When you are confident, you are unstoppable. You can achieve anything you put your mind to. You are less fearful and more willing to try out new things in life. So remind yourself of all these enormous benefits of being more confident and bear in mind that you can only avail all these benefits once you embrace all your flaws and imperfections.
Know that you deserve happiness
When you resist your flaws and imperfections, you can never truly me happy because you won’t be accepting a part of yourself. You will never be at peace until and unless you come to terms with your flaws. So, to be more content with your life, stop trying so hard to turn all your weaknesses into strengths. Embrace your imperfections and love yourself for who you really are. This would cultivate self-love and help you be more compassionate to yourself.
Embracing your imperfections is something which can take a lot of time and effort, but it is definitely possible. Hopefully the tips shared in this article will help you in your journey of becoming more self-accepting. The evidence tends to suggest that not comparing yourself to others, practicing self-acceptance and choosing to be free from others’ expectations can really help you in embracing your imperfections. Remember it’s okay to be flawed and vulnerable, after all we are all humans hiding behind the facade of perfection. During your journey it is very important for you bear in mind that it is okay to accept external help. You don’t have to do all of it on your own. Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help. A therapist can assist you in the work you need to do to reduce the impact of perfectionism on your life.
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