I see many well-meaning slogans encouraging us to embrace imperfections, anything from extra pounds, to volatile social skills. You know the ones. They declare to the world that we are perfect just the way we are, and that others need to fix their perceptions of us. Either that, or they can just leave us the hell alone!
On the surface, this sounds like a good thing: there is great power and peace in acceptance. The problem that I have with some of these slogans is that they imply that any attempt to correct an imperfection is an act of self-denial.
While the “I am who I am!” battle cries may feel empowering, they can also be imprisoning. They make it easy to ignore things about ourselves that we might be better off changing. After all, why are we feeling the need to shout? Why are we digging our heels into the sand? Doesn’t that usually happen when we are encountering some form of push-back? But what if that push-back is valid?
I think there’s a common fear that if we recognize imperfections and want to change them, that it will cause us to have bad feelings about ourselves. Whereas if we exalt our imperfections, with some lofty or self-aggrandizing slogan, we will somehow feel empowered.
But doesn’t that seem backwards? It does to me. Not only that, it seems like a hollow sort of empowerment.
You see, I think that we can acknowledge unappealing traits or tendencies without feeling down about ourselves. I think we can live with an unpleasant condition in our lives without experiencing angst, sadness, or despair. Obstacles don’t have to induce frustration. Love does not have to lead to worry. Intense work conditions do not have to cause stress. Imperfections do not have to make us feel unworthy.
Recognition and dissatisfaction do not have to be unpleasant experiences.
So, instead of aggrandizing our flaws and digging in our heels, how about we just accept that we are works in progress? Wouldn’t that feel a little more freeing? We could just cut ourselves some slack, join the human race, and still keep ourselves open to feedback from others that might expand our self-perception. Who knows, we might even evolve into a better version of who we are today. And wouldn’t that feel good?
If you found some value in this mindful musing, please share: A little empowerment goes a long way.