Fears about being imperfect hold us back from living an authentic life.
Maybe it’s fears around your skills in applying for a job, fears around trying something new or checking off a bucket list item, fears around moving to another city or country. We don’t want to fail so we don’t take a chance.
We also let fear of imperfection hold us back from being vulnerable in relationships.
Maybe we are scared to let others see us for who we really are. See all the qualities inside or outside of us that we don’t really like about our self. Maybe it’s fears about our body, how it looks, its shape or its parts. Maybe it’s fears around being vulnerable in a new relationship or sharing your authentic self with others.
Sometimes we see imperfection in others around us: our friends, our partner, our children. It's those imperfections that lead to annoyance, frustration, and anger; the quirks and qualities that are either too much like us or too different from us. This is when you think “Ugh, seriously, why can’t you just _____ (fill in your annoyance here).”
It’s a pretty high standard for us to expect perfection from ourselves and others. If we slow down, I think most of us realize (cognitively) that perfection is not realistic or possible.
We know that we aren’t perfect. And we know others aren’t perfect.
There’s a quote from the movie Good Will Hunting that sums this up well. It’s during one of the therapy sessions when Will started a new relationship and his therapist, Sean, confronts him about his fears. Sean said: “You’re not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense; this girl you’ve met, she’s not perfect either.”
When we let fear of imperfection consume us, we hold back.
In the movie Good Will Hunting, Will was holding back from pursuing a new relationship because of fear. He didn’t want this new relationship to see that he was flawed and wounded. (Aren’t we all flawed and wounded in our own ways?)
What a beautiful shift it would be if we could embrace imperfection. To accept ourselves and others for what we really are… imperfect.
Take a loved one in your life and consider a quality that drives you crazy. Now what would it be if that trait no longer bothered you? If instead of it annoying and frustrating you, you shifted your thoughts to LOVE this person for that quality. If every time they were imperfect you said “I love that you are imperfect” and welcomed them with open arms (literally and figuratively).
I’m glad my loved ones are imperfect. Some of them are messy and disorganized. Some lead chaotic lives. Some are flaky. Some talk loud and have a lot of ‘drama’ in their lives. Some are too quiet and don’t take enough risks. They are also some of the most compassionate, kind, loving people I know.
I’m glad my loved ones accept me for being imperfect: for everything that I struggle with, for all my short-comings, for my weaknesses and fears.
Have an amazing week accepting imperfections in yourself and those around you.
Adriana Joyner, LMFT, is a Sacramento area therapist specializing in helping people lead authentic lives. Adriana’s most passionate about supporting individuals exploring their gender and sexuality, and advocating for the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.