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Embrace Your Little Faults. They Are What Defines You.

Embrace Your Little Faults. They Are What Defines You.

How much of our lives have we dedicated to perfection? The straight A’s, the beach bodies, the perfect scores; the list goes on. Striving towards perfection and then not achieving it can lead to depression, unhealthy mood swings, and self-deprecating doubt. These frustrations pile on, and eventually, a perfectionist may find themselves struggling to accept themselves.

If a person can’t accept who they are, they lose sight of their selves, and then, seek out ways to sculpt who they are supposed to be. I am a straight A student. I am a size zero. I achieved one-hundred percent. Underneath all those titles expressed through accomplishments, who is the person who achieved all those things? They couldn’t have possibly made it through without having made some mistakes and being imperfect in other things. Faults and flaws are what make individuals different from each other.

How Is Perfection Defined

Being a straight A student or wearing a size zero in jeans is by no means an absolute definition of perfection. If those things are considered your goals, then great! Go for it. Work hard to get what you want because there’s nothing wrong with that. But make certain that you are doing it for genuine reasons. It has to be what you want. Not what everyone wants for you and everyone else. Having B’s or C’s or wearing whatever size you wear does not dictate how close or far away you are from perfection. You dictate who you are. Perfection does not define you, and you are not defined by perfection.

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The dictionary defines perfection as “the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.” The dictionary defines flaw as “a mistake or shortcoming in a plan, theory, or legal document that causes it to fail or reduces its effectiveness.” Was having a B in World History a shortcoming in your plans? Does it reduce your effectiveness as a person? Will you not be able to perform your duties in your daily work and personal lives if you do not nail an A in that class? Maybe it does if you plan to study History in college and you plan to become a professor or a scholar in the field. If so, congratulations! You have a goal! But you will have to make mistakes along the way in order to learn what not to do. That B in World History informed you of what it was that you didn’t know. You’ve made mistakes, leaving you the opportunity to learn.

This is how you grow. Growth is defined as “the process of developing or maturing physically, mentally, or spiritually.” By not being perfect, there is always room to grow. Striving and achieving perfection would infer that there is no more growth needed. You have peaked physically, mentally and spiritually. There is nothing else to satisfy. Nothing to learn. Nothing to do.

Perfection sounds a little boring, doesn’t it?

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Don’t Strive For Perfection. Strive For Balance

Ever gone on an interview and been asked, “Tell us your strengths?” You’d might answer:

  • “I’m great at analyzing!”
  • “I work hard at what I do!”
  • “I’m a kind, loving person!”

These skills are wonderful assets to have. For what the employer is looking for, these could be the keys to getting in the door. But then, the interviewer asks you, “well, what are your weaknesses?”

You stumble. You aren’t sure what to say. You haven’t thought about it much, or you couldn’t come up with anything before the interview. The reality is that what makes us strong can also make us weak.

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  • “I analyze too much and I forget to listen to my instincts, thus second-guessing my conclusions.”
  • “I work too hard. Last year, I was in the hospital because I was stressed and malnourished, and my doctor told me I had to take a week off.”
  • “I’m really nice. I’m so nice that I let people take advantage of me and I don’t say anything because I don’t want to hurt their feelings.”

And that’s okay. While you were trying to become better at problem-solving, elevating your work ethic, and sustaining your virtues, you might not have realized that trying to do too much of one thing can be a bad thing. It’s important to work towards becoming better at those things, but it’s also important to accept that you are human and that your strengths aren’t always going to be consistent. Don’t strive for perfection, strive for balance, and you may find peace within yourself.

Accept that you could be better at something, but where you are now is where you’re supposed to be. Trust yourself, believe in yourself, and allow yourself to be you. Forcing yourself to be something more can be disastrous for your personal and work life, and your health.

If Someone Was Perfect, They’d Be A Robot

Ideas of perfection, whether they be of our intangible attributes or our bodies, are social constructs that dictate expectations and standards. Comparisons are often drawn to categorize people. That’s what our minds do: organize the chaos. But if everyone was expected to look or behave a certain way, we’d all look and behave the same. As obvious of a statement as that may seem, it’s not so widely conceded.

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People come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They hold their own beliefs and morals, aspirations and fears. Their experiences are their own, and no one ever experiences precisely the same life as the other. Everyone makes mistakes and have blemishes and faults. These elements cannot be manufactured. As a result, the standards dictated by social constructs are irrelevant. Everyone is different, and that is okay.

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Kyle Hiller

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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