the art of imperfection

Yes, being imperfect is an art. It is a work in progress for me. It is something I strive for and fight for within my mind. It is a conscious decision I have now made for myself — because I have been too perfect my entire life. I have tried to do everything by the book and I have tried to do everything that was right in every way. I didn’t like the feeling of making a “mistake” and thinking that I wasn’t good enough or that I was a failure. I didn’t like the feeling of being judged. I wanted and needed approval for all that I did correctly and then was hard on myself when I didn’t meet those self-imposed expectations. Everything in my life had to be just so. Just perfect. My self worth was tied to this idea and notion of perfection. It could be from a combination of nurture and nature that I have been this way but I now fight to be imperfect and to embrace my flaws. I have now found power, strength and beauty in being flawed, raw and open — and it has also come with a general “I don’t give a — insert favorite swear word” attitude about most things that come with the notion of being put into a tidy perfect box — because that is where I was for most of my life. I still do care about things I am passionate about — early childhood education, women’s issues and social justice for women, being in love with love, spirituality, the creative spirit, meeting other like minded beautiful souls, the written and spoken word. But all that also comes with a new understanding of how I have related to these things in the past and what I want to learn and take away from them now and in the future.

I have learned through this idea of imperfection to forgive myself and not beat myself up with self-defeating talk. I now see the lessons in everything that has been given to me in my life. The roadblocks, the detours, the heartbreak and pain, have all taught me huge lessons and they have changed who I am with each encounter with them. We are all flawed and imperfect but it’s how we chose to embrace or shun those parts of ourselves that helps us to live in our own skin and be comfortable with who we are. That isn’t an easy task and takes mindfulness and a lot of tears, acceptance, forgiveness — and time.

Teaching our children that it is okay to be imperfect and to make mistakes teaches resilience and grit. It shows them that when we fail, it is only a lesson and teaching tool for our growth. And with that also comes a clearer path towards gratitude. Gratitude has been transformative for me over the past three years. It is how I can fight, move forward and get past all the crap that life throws at me. We are given one life to live — but it is how we wish to take life’s pain, suffering and joy and use it to grow. It is about finding the small joys in life and savoring and cherishing those moments. And it’s about finding connections with souls that speak to our soul. It’s about embracing, loving and acknowledging the imperfections and perfections in our loved ones and accepting them unconditionally — as in my soul sees your soul and understands You that stands before me. When we can accept each other and ourselves for who we are, our flaws and all, then we can finally love with a true heart, as there isn’t any other space in our souls for anything else.

This is how I choose to live, work, and just be going forward in this life.