Author: Mike Scaletti
Almost all of us have personality traits or physical features that we are uncomfortable with. You might always feel unprepared for a crucial interview, you might believe that your body shape is not ideal, or you may think your shyness is preventing you from making meaningful connections. Social media incessantly promotes perfectionism as an ideal standard, leading us to believe that we must always be at our best.
Perfectionism is a personality trait that compels individuals to strive for or appear perfect, either for themselves or for others. It is characterized by setting unrealistic expectations, severe self-evaluation, denial of personal flaws in behavior or appearance, and an overwhelming desire to eliminate any possibility of errors or failure.
Often perfectionism is regarded as a positive and desirable trait that can result in personal and professional growth and success. However, studies show that perfectionism can also lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, perfectionism that arises from social norms and expectations can result in self-harm.
Perfectionism can have detrimental effects on developmental outcomes in individuals of all age groups, and in children it can predict the development of depression, anxiety, and even self-harm.
The concept many of us have that perfection will result in success and happiness is deep seated and incredibly ingrained. Breaking that pattern requires mindfulness and determination.
Accepting our fears, flaws, and insecurities as we pursue our dreams can help us achieve those dreams and develop a happier and healthier life. Here are five steps you can take towards embracing imperfections and even celebrating them.
Appreciate your flaws.
The first step towards embracing imperfections is to change your perspective regarding how you perceive yourself. Stop viewing yourself as insufficient or lacking in certain areas, and start seeing yourself as a whole being, inclusive of your "flaws". Upon reflection, you might even find that your flaws or imperfections offer you a unique edge! Instead of self-recrimination, look for self-validation.
Recognize that your flaws make you who you are.
Imperfections give you character and make you authentic. Most of us try to hide what we perceive as our flaws, rather than accept them as a vital part of our personalities, in the quest for perfection. No one is perfect though, and the sooner we embrace that about ourselves, the better off we'll me.
There is an interesting trend I've noticed in many people (myself included). It's easy to accept and embrace the quirks and imperfections in our friends and family, but when we look at the same or similar traits in ourselves we reject them. What this shows is that your sense of being flawed or imperfect may be stemming from self-perception that may highlight only one facet of your personality, and isn't accurate to you as a complete person.
Focus on the journey, not the goal.
It is common to wrongly believe that perfection is a requirement for achieving goals. Goals are great, and can aid in our progress, but focusing too heavily on goals can actually turn them into barriers that highlight our perceived inadequacies.
Instead of viewing your goals as a rigid state of perfection to achieve, recognize them as a process, an evolution of who you are as a person or professional, and set them with that idea in mind.
Seek Positive Reinforcement.
The people we interact with can affect our thought processes and decisions. While there is such a thing as toxic positivity, toxic negativity is far more common. Seek out people and organizations that embrace you for who you are, imperfections and all, and strive for positive validation.
Books, podcasts, blogs, and websites can serve as wonderful sources of inspiration and support without causing you to fall into the trap of perfectionism.
Inspire Others With Self Acceptance.
Once you discard your insecurities and accept your authentic self, you can inspire others to do the same. People can become paralyzed by the fear of their own imperfections, and when they see you embrace your own and move forward with strength, they can use that as motivation to move forward themselves. This in turn will continue to reinforce your own sense of self-validation, empowering everyone as we build a kinder, more authentic community.
Recognizing that your flaws and imperfections make you authentic is essential. Some of these imperfections may be addressed to help you achieve your goals or improve yourself, while others may be an inherent part of your being. Embracing your imperfections is crucial for leading a genuine and satisfying life.