3 ways to embrace imperfections for happiness
Gwyneth recently posed the question in her GOOP newsletter (click here for the full article): The idea of ‘being perfect’ is something that plagues many of us in our society, causing a lot of stress and feelings of inadequacy. Where does this idea that we need to be perfect come from? How can we come to terms with (and find the beauty in) imperfection?
The common thread in her experts’ answers seems to be that the desire to be perfect ultimately stems from failure: fear of not measuring up or being enough, fear of failing, fear of being imperfect. Here, our summary of three ways to let go of the need to be perfect and embrace your imperfections.
1. Dare greatly. She’s written an entire book on it, but leading researcher Dr. Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, says “Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.” Instead, she offers up a Daring Greatly plan. The phrase ‘Daring Greatly’ is from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, Citizenship in a Republic.
‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…’
2. Strive. Psychologist Dr. Jessica Zucker, Ph.D says, “We’re tempted to think that if we do more, we will feel less insecure, less afraid, and less anxious/depressed.” But that’s not what actually happens. What we must do, then, is learn to love the journey, where we strive for happiness, success, and yes, even perfection. She writes, “Striving, in and of itself, can be chock-full of rewarding jubilant health. It’s when we chase perfection with tunnel vision as if it’s the only option that we drain our life force.”
3. Make little bets. Entrepreneur Peter Sims wrote an entire book on making little bets. He says, “The problem with that approach to praise and reward is that it builds up our resistance to doing anything that’s less than perfect. And since being imperfect, and being willing to make mistakes in order to discover new paths, opportunities and approaches is essential to any creative process.” Instead, he encourages everyone to take small steps, or little bets. “It starts today. And, it starts small, with a little bet. It’s really that simple and that hard.”