In a world that often values perfection above all else, it can be challenging to embrace your imperfections.
However, self-acceptance and self-love are essential for your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Here, we explore why embracing imperfection is so important for cultivating ongoing emotional balance in your life and avoiding a host of problems such as anxiety, depression and a lack of self worth.
Nobody Is Perfect
The first step in embracing imperfection is to recognise that nobody is perfect.
Everyone has flaws and experiences different challenges, even if it doesn't appear that way on the surface. Understanding this fact helps you to realise that your flaws are not actually unique to you - they are simply a part of being human.
Additionally, what constitutes perfection in your eyes may be completely different to what another sees as perfect.
The point is that perfection or achieving a perfect life is an impossible dream unless you're able to embrace imperfection as just a reality of life.
Don't Hide Your Imperfections
One of the secrets to embracing your imperfections is to stand loud and proud. In other words, when you try to hide your imperfections (which remember are only perceived and not necessarily real), you can create a barrier between yourself and others that may cause you to feel shame or self-doubt.
However, when you embrace your imperfections, you're able to connect with others on a deeper level and find a sense of freedom and self-acceptance.
These emotions are also linked to greater happiness and resilience, which means when we accept ourselves for who we are, we're more likely to feel content and fulfilled, regardless of our circumstances.
We're also better equipped to handle difficult situations and to bounce back from setbacks, because we're not relying on external validation to feel good about ourselves.
How To Cultivate Self-Love And Self-Acceptance
When it comes to cultivating a greater level of self-love and self-acceptance, here are some tips to get you started:
1. Practice self-compassion - Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would a close friend. Acknowledge your mistakes and shortcomings, but don't beat yourself up over them.
For example, if a particular project, idea, career change or relationship doesn't go to plan and you've given it your best, just accept the learnings and tell yourself that you're ok. Life is a journey with many ups, downs, ebbs and flows, so it's vital to practice self-compassion which will help you to navigate any set backs and allow you to keep pushing forward with self love;
2. Focus on your strengths - Instead of fixating on your flaws, make a mental note of your strengths and accomplishments.
Particularly in challenging times, it is easy to lose site of our personal greatness even if you've accomplished great things or made yourself proud in the past.
For this reason, it is important to regularly tune into your personal attributes and strengths and to allow these to be your guide. This is really the art of embracing imperfection throughout life, because when you focus on your strengths you inherently realise that there are parts of you that aren't your strengths or that are simply imperfect.
Remember, another persons flaws or weaknesses are likely your strengths and vice versa, meaning no one is perfect at everything!
3. Challenge negative self-talk - Notice when you're engaging in negative self-talk and challenge those thoughts.
Ask yourself if the dialogue in your head is based on reality or if you're just being too hard on yourself.
One of the best definitions of self-love is this:
"Self Love is the things you say to yourself about yourself when no one else is around".
In other words, your self talk really matters because it can either empower you or disempower you and greatly impact how you show up in the world.
Try to come up with an empowering little incantation or phrase that you use daily or whenever you're phased with a challenge to help guide you through.
For example, you could say to yourself; "I am great, I am loved, I am worthy". Or, "I can, I will, just watch me".
This kind of positive self talk can really help prime your mind on a daily basis and can be a powerful way to avoid focussing on your imperfections.
4. Practice gratitude - Gratitude is the antidote to so many negative emotions that can weigh you down, such as fear, guilt and shame, just to name a few. The problem with negative emotions is that they can rule your life and stop you from being the best version of you.
This is why gratitude is so important.
Take time each day to reflect on what you're grateful for, whether it's for the physical things you possess, or your health, family, career, place where you live, or your personal qualities and abilities.
A few moments of gratitude reflection each day makes your imperfections seem small because gratitude moves you emotionally to focus on what's great about your life rather than what's not. This is key to helping you appreciate and accept yourself more fully.
The Main Take Away
Embracing imperfection is an essential part of cultivating self-acceptance and self-love in your life.
Nothing and no individual is perfect, regardless of how it may seem in a fleeting moment.
Therefore, if you really want to live a truly happy and fulfilling life, you must let go perfectionism and embrace imperfection for what it is - just part of life!
Your wellbeing and self care are dependent on you being kind to yourself and aiming for progress and growth, not perfection.
By practicing self-compassion, focusing on your strengths, challenging negative self-talk, letting go of perfectionism, and practicing gratitude, you can begin to cultivate a greater sense of self-acceptance, self-love and self-worth that will serve you throughout the journey of life.
Tolman Self Care.