Embracing Imperfection: A Key to Total Self-Love

Do you feel ashamed and annoyed by your imperfections? If so, I can completely relate. In my last article, I mentioned how I was driven to prove that I was good enough, lovable enough, and worthy enough for my father’s attention. I had such an intense need to be flawless, because I truly believed it […]

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Whitney Gordon-Mead quote

Do you feel ashamed and annoyed by your imperfections?

If so, I can completely relate.

In my last article, I mentioned how I was driven to prove that I was good enough, lovable enough, and worthy enough for my father’s attention. I had such an intense need to be flawless, because I truly believed it was impossible to receive the love that I craved unless I first reached a state of perfection. 

It was my life coach who helped me to see that my imperfections are part of my authentic self, and they actually make me more interesting, special, and unique. I began to realize that people find me even more lovable when I screw things up, since it invokes my humanity. Others like to see that we’re only human because, let’s face it, who wants to be around someone who’s perfect all the time?

This has been an important lesson for me. And now I want to share it with you… 

Because, if you’re anything like me, you probably tend toward being too hard on yourself. And it’s much easier to make your way through the world if you love yourself. Perhaps our greatest struggle is to accept and love ourselves in spite of our many flaws. Since we tend to be programmed with a desire for perfection, this isn’t something that’s likely to happen without some work. 

Self-Acceptance is key to self-love 

You can’t experience optimal well-being and unconditional love if you’re always pursuing perfection. The notion of perfection is flawed, it’s an illusion, a human construct that creates more pain and angst than joy. It’s also exhausting, and will distract you from being fully present. So, if you truly want to be happy, try striving for excellence – not perfection.

When I finally acknowledged these truths, I was able to accept my flaws, instead of fighting them. And through a process of self-acceptance, I learned to love myself no matter what by healing the core belief that I have to be perfect if I want to be loved. 

Self-acceptance is steady and unconditional. Once you are able to accept yourself despite any perceived flaws, failures, and limitations, you will be able to see yourself and your imperfections as “perfect” for you. You’ll also be more self-forgiving, letting go of self-judgment and perfectionism.

A transformational metaphor for life

In Japan, there’s a centuries-old tradition – known as kintsugi – of mending broken ceramics with gold. Instead of dismissing broken pottery as junk, the Japanese consider it more beautiful and authentic for having been broken. 

Literally meaning “golden joinery”, kintsugi is the art of repairing cracked pottery with gold-painted glue. The golden seams that join the broken pieces together accentuate the imperfections that make the object uniquely beautiful. 

The philosophy behind kintsugi is to value an object’s imperfections, as well as its beauty, and celebrate them equally. By embracing these flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.

As I see it, this ancient concept doesn’t just apply to broken things— it’s a metaphor for transforming the broken, flawed, painful parts of the self so they may radiate their unique golden beauty. 

Kintsugi holds valuable lessons about life and self-love. Its principles help you mend your mind and heal your body by nourishing mind, body and soul. Here are tips on how to do this…

Embrace your imperfections and discover greater self-love

1.Accept your imperfections

Many mental health professionals believe that self-acceptance is necessary before change can occur. And, if you’re feeling stuck, accepting your flaws may be the first challenge to overcome.

The key to a fulfilling and happy life is accepting yourself. Once you acknowledge that your imperfections are a unique part of you, you can move on to loving yourself. 

2. Appreciate your uniqueness

Be grateful for your body, mind, and uniqueness. You are better than you think. The most valuable parts of you are those that are different from others. So embrace your qualities, skills, or abilities that are unique. Appreciating what you have makes it easier to love yourself.

3. Detach from your parents’ behavior 

Some parents are better than others. Overly critical parents don’t have bad children, they’re just lousy parents. There’s little to be gained by giving your parents a hard time for their inadequacies. The solution is to forgive them and release yourself from the past. Avoid judging yourself based on the parenting you received. It’s a reflection of them, not you.

4. Pay attention to what you say to yourself

Notice if you use negative self-talk that’s humiliating or demoralizing. Does your inner dialogue make you feel inferior, ashamed, or guilty? You don’t want your words to create more pain and suffering. There is a direct link between self-talk and your health and mental wellness.

So, eliminate negative self-talk. Because it’s difficult to love yourself if you’re constantly insulting yourself. Speak to yourself the way you would a good friend. Be a friend to yourself. Be more gentle with yourself. Each time you say something negative, say “cancel clear” immediately and change it to words of love and support.

5. Practice forgiveness

Forgive your past self. Sure, you’ve made some mistakes and probably done and said a few awful things along the way. Who hasn’t? But why drag the past into the present?  Learn from the experience and move on. Let it go. You can make a fresh start each day. 

If you’re harping on your past transgressions, self-love will be in short-supply. There will be moments when you’re less capable than others, and vice versa. Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself for your flaws and mistakes. You would do the same for someone you care about, so do it for yourself. Know that you are doing the best you can. 

Plus, keep in mind that the ability to forgive yourself is proportional to your ability to forgive others. When you practice forgiving others, you’ll find that self-love comes much easier.

6. Be authentic

You may hide your brokenness, because you don’t want to seem weak or incompetent. Yet the art of kintsugi teaches you to honor your broken parts as they are testaments to your unique journeys and to your ability to grow and heal. So, authentically own your scars and celebrate the experiences that taught you the greatest lessons.

In addition, when you put on a persona for the world, you’re not giving others the opportunity to love you as you are. So how will you be able to love yourself? When you’re authentic, the love you receive feels infinitely more meaningful. Living honestly is scary, but surprisingly easy. People admire and respect those with the strength to be authentic.

7. Evaluate your relationships 

Toxic people can make it harder for you to accept and love your imperfections. Odds are that at least one of your relationships is poisoning your life. It might be a friendship, romantic relationship, or a relationship with a family member. Reduce contact with those who consistently make you feel bad about yourself. Value yourself enough to avoid negative people that drag you down. 

Instead, focus on those relationships that are healthier for you. Spend time with those friends and family who build you up and bring out the best in you. 

8. Reframe hardship as opportunity 

You may have days that make you feel amazing and on top of the world. You’ll also have days that make you feel defeated, sad, and tired, especially when life takes a turn you didn’t expect—a job loss, a relationship breakup, sickness, the loss of a loved-one. This rollercoaster of life is normal. The key is to avoid letting the difficult days affect you long-term. Regardless of what you’re struggling with or recovering from, look at reframing this hardship as an experience that can help you come out even stronger.

Challenges are a part of everyone’s life. There isn’t something inherently wrong with you because you have obstacles. Turn your focus to brainstorming a solution and taking action on your new approach to each issue. 

Celebrate your imperfections!

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

Your imperfections make you the unique person you are. So, use the tips above to learn to love yourself inside and out. Then you’ll boost your self-confidence, increase your charisma, and gain greater peace as you pursue a life you’ll love.

You have many wonderful qualities that you’ve been overlooking. Believe that you deserve love from yourself and those in your life. A little self-love will enhance every part of your life.

Yet loving yourself, imperfections and all, doesn’t mean you won’t still have goals for self-improvement. You can strive to strengthen your good qualities and develop skills and characteristics that you desire, while loving the person you are.

A gift for loving your imperfections

We know that life can be messy, always changing and rarely perfect. And that’s okay. We can embrace imperfection, finding beauty and authenticity in it. Thus, we acknowledge the perfection of imperfection. In Japan, this idea is known as wabi-sabi. 

Earlier I spoke about the Japanese art of kintsugi, which transforms broken pieces into an even more beautiful new object. Kintsugi is a part of the concept of wabi-sabi. 

Wabi-sabi is the practice of coaxing beauty out of unexpected places, from a broken vase and teacup to upended plans and unexpected setbacks. An ancient philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi is sometimes described as appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature.

The wabi-sabi tea ceremony is a ritual of purity and simplicity in which Zen masters prized bowls that were handmade, irregularly shaped, with uneven glaze and cracks, yet possessed an unexpected beauty in their deliberate imperfection. These antique bowls are prized because of (not in spite of) their drips and cracks. 

What if you learned to prize the drips and cracks in your messy life?

For ways to bring greater self-love into your life, click here and claim your FREE gift, The Wabi-Sabi Path To Greater Happiness Checklist. Wabi-sabi is a practice easily applied in everyday life. This checklist is a gift that:

  • Invites a celebration of your imperfections as potential strengths (not weaknesses).
  • Inspires you to live in the present moment.
  • Encourages you to recognize and treasure the gifts you have. 
  • Brings a sense of calm, presence and beauty into your life.
  • Helps you find happiness right where you are and joy in everything you do.

Click here now to claim your free gift: The Wabi-Sabi Path To Greater Happiness Checklist.

Till next time,

Whitney

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