"There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty." - Steve Maraboli, 'Unapologetically You: Reflections On Life And The Human Experience.'
There is an innate elegance in lovingly embracing one's imperfections; in allowing oneself to be happy – delighted even – with being perfectly imperfect.
When I first became immersed in the arena of personal development and decided that I wanted to coach other women who were struggling with things I knew so well, I thought that I needed to be perfect.
I had this deeply held belief that my mind had to be cleansed of all negative thoughts, that no bad days were allowed, and any feelings of sadness, anger, humiliation, embarrassment, shame, frustration, or envy had to be wiped from my slate.
I started to ask the question, "Well, if the goal isn't always to be happy and always to have positive thoughts, then what is?"
My insidious need for perfection spread well throughout every area of my life, as thoughts and feelings always do.
I thought that my home, office, car, finances, events – my life – had to be perfectly ordered at all times.
I thought that my body needed to be at its ideal weight and fitness level, my hair and nails had to be spectacular no matter what, and that I needed to look fabulous 24/7.
I was also sure that I always needed to say and do precisely the right things at exactly the right moments in every situation.
In essence, I thought I needed to be perfect.
After all, I wondered: How could I possibly coach others if I didn't have it all perfectly together?
Imperfection is the Human Experience, and it is Beautiful
"Life isn't meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be lived. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically lived." - Mandy Hale, 'The Single Woman: Life, Love, And A Dash Of Sass.'
I understand today that all of that quest for perfection was, in actuality, a resistance to the human experience.
Also, it was impossible.
I've come to realize that the journey is really about becoming more human and embracing the messiness of my humanity, even as I strive to create my extraordinary life.
When we don't embrace the essence of our humanity, we are resisting life itself.
Welcoming and appreciating our imperfections is a liberating gift. As put by Anh Ngô, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of MindsetSeed, "imperfection is a form of freedom."
Of course, I'm not saying that one should throw all effort into the wind, never striving to do better.
I would never suggest that we live stagnantly, giving up entirely on the life-changing benefits of healthy habits, quality thinking, fitness, well-being, cleanliness and order, financial stability, and all the rest that goes toward empowering our self-image.
That is the opposite of what I teach in the School of Self-Image.
Do embrace self-improvement and personal development. Do put in the effort and strive for that extraordinary life that you are meant to have.
And. Accept and embrace the imperfections that go with everyday living as a human being in this beautifully imperfect world.
The Freedom Granted From Showing Up Authentically
"Your imperfections are marks of authenticity, and that is the beauty of you." - Isaac Fowler.
As I started to feel more freedom from my anxieties and concerns about keeping up with my ideas of perfection, my self-image began to shift upward, transforming into a positive frame that allowed me to grow in every area of my life.
More importantly, that positive self-image shift allowed me to start showing up authentically in my interactions with those in my world.
I began to share my struggles.
I shared them with you all, shared them with my friends and my family, shared them with my colleagues, and I shared them with my coach.
I shared them, but not in a whining, whoa is me kind of way that could only be chalked up drama. Rather, I shared with honesty, vulnerability, and acceptance in the spirit of connecting and letting go of the emotional aspects of the struggles that were damaging my self-worth.
I talked about the weight concerns I was constantly grappling with, my divorces, and all the things that I had so much shame around.
As I was more open, authentic, and exposed without negative consequences, more power was expunged from those feelings of shame. Eventually, the shame disappeared altogether, and I was free of it.
And, there was a bonus.
The more I shared my struggles, the more other women felt comfortable sharing their stories with me. I received messages from women around the world about their own experiences. They were saying things like, "Me too. Thank you for talking about this because I, too, have been there and done that."
As a result, I became better at coaching other women and helping them to grow, despite my previously feared imperfections.
Embracing My Imperfections With Love And Acceptance
"To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality." - John Ruskin, 'The Stones Of Venice.'
You don't need to "deal with" your imperfections; you need only to look at them in a new light and see that they make you perfectly human.
You are not a problem to be fixed.
When you're not resisting who you are, you can create the most incredible changes in your life.
Your self-image will transform. You'll begin to see yourself as the truly beautiful human being that you are – and, as a result, everything else in your life will level up.
David D. Burns, psychiatrist and adjunct professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford once said, "A poor self-image is the magnifying glass that can transform a trivial mistake or an imperfection into an overwhelming symbol of personal defeat." I couldn't have put it better myself.
When you transform your self-image, you begin to see and celebrate the innate feminine power within you that enables you to create beyond limits.
Little hiccups in the road don't phase you. Personal imperfections don't trap you in shame, guilt, or discomfort.
Your elevated self-image begins to define everything about you and everything about your life. As you see yourself as a woman who can – you do.
With that, imperfections (personal or circumstantial) become a mere part of the whole, not to be concerned with, but to be acknowledged and perhaps even celebrated.
The Self-Image Manifesto
You’re Invited To Live An Extraordinary Life!
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