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Published on April 17, 2020

How To Be Perfect If You Feel Ashamed of Your Flaws

How To Be Perfect If You Feel Ashamed of Your Flaws

One of the biggest traps that us self-improving humans fall into again and again is the pursuit of perfection. This includes getting bigger muscles in the gym, trying to cultivate a mind that is free of negative thoughts, or starting a new endeavour in our lives. Sometimes if it isn’t perfect, we feel like it isn’t worth doing.

Because perfection is the goal for many people, that means that whatever stands in the way of perfection is an enemy to be eliminated. That might be other people, other obstacles that you encounter, or perhaps most tragically, yourself and your own flaws. Not only this, but being a perfectionist has been shown to be terrible for your health.[1]

There are two facts that you must know that, although they may seem obvious, are actually incredibly slimy and make you believe they aren’t actually true. The first is that everyone has flaws. The second: perfection doesn’t exist.

Therefore, if you plan on functioning as a relatively healthy human being for the rest of your life, it is probably time to come to terms with these facts. Unfortunately, a guide on how to be perfect full-stop doesn’t exist because perfection itself doesn’t exist. Instead, here is a guide on how to be perfectly imperfect, especially if you feel ashamed of your flaws.

Why Perfection Is an Illusion

It can be a surprisingly difficult thing to accept. Hopefully, you had a decent childhood where you would watch Disney movies, cartoons, and play with your favourite heroes and heroines.

Humans tend to find these sorts of things entertaining because they are easy to follow and give us some sense of purpose and direction. You rarely find a conflicted character in a Disney film: there is the clear good, and the clear bad. There is the extremely perfect hero and the extremely imperfect villain.

This idea of perfection is something that you subconsciously cling to as you enter adulthood. The world is immensely strange, complicated, and downright impossible to understand. Things are a lot easier to deal with when you make things black and white. Good and bad. Perfect and not perfect.

This is a common mistake and one that holds many people back. There is no one perfect policy, political party, action to take, or partner to be with. Every action ultimately involves a trade-off with another action[2]. Even inaction comes with its own set of costs.

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Even if you believe yourself to be taking the perfect action in a certain situation, you don’t know how that action will affect someone else, the world, or even yourself down the line.

Waiting for the perfect partner might lead to a life of loneliness and an existence far from the happiness that you set out to achieve. Accepting the imperfections of a partner might lead to a life of happiness and, ironically, a life closer to “perfection.”

There is no perfection in this life, only trade-offs that you have to make. The simple act of recognizing this can take you extremely far.

The Consequence of Pursuing Perfection

In one word: unhappiness.

As we have already established, perfection is an illusion, and therefore trying to chase it is a mistake that will only lead to misery, restlessness, and discontentment in your life.

Pursuing perfection is the same as kidding yourself that you will be happy when you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s a moving target that doesn’t really exist but is quite often nice to think about.

As famous, modern-day thinker Naval Ravikant said:

“Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”

The same can be said for happiness and the pursuit of perfection. Too many people force themselves to be unhappy until they reach a vain metric — sometimes perfection — before they will allow themselves to be happy.

You have a natural desire for more. You have a natural desire for improvement. You have a natural desire to be a better person. Everybody does. But improvement and the journey itself is the whole thing. There is no magical destination that will solve all of your problems.

Perfection doesn’t exist. Don’t ever fool yourself and trade in your happiness thinking that it does. It’s a lousy, foolish pursuit.

Embracing Flaws Is the New “Perfection”

You’ve probably tried hiding your flaws  from other people or maybe even from yourself. Everybody has at some point. Maybe you feared being judged or rejected, or were worried about the opinions of other people, or were too afraid of what you might think of yourself if you dug too deep.

You’ve also probably revealed some of your flaws to close friends and family. This is part of life and where vulnerability is healthy. As you get to know people better, you start to open up, get comfortable, and effortlessly allow your true self to shine forth.

Think back to that awkward time you met your best friend and how silly you are together now. Think back to the awkward first date with your partner that is now a key part of your life. Think back to a time when you were extremely embarrassed about something and your family brushed it off like it was nothing. Because after all, it was nothing, really.

During all of these instances and many others in your life, you have had flaws that you were self-conscious of, parts of you that you weren’t particularly proud of, or hang-ups that you could never seem to completely shake off.

But look at where you are now. Look at how many of these things haven’t even mattered in the end. Most likely, you were pulled even closer to those that you love in your life after you revealed your flaws to them, rather than feigning some sense of perfection that was never really there.

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The same is true in reverse, too. You are touched when a friend opens up to you and asks for life advice. You feel great when you can help out a family member who has asked for your help with one of their flaws.

Despite what you make of them in your own head, flaws and openness and acceptance are all key parts of life and bring people together like no form of perfection ever could. You are perfectly you. Nobody has the complete “you” package like you do — strengths, weaknesses, and all.[3]

When you become who you are and not who you think you should be (or who someone else thinks that you should be), life gets much better. Your relationships deepen, people like you (or don’t) for who you are, and you know that the ones that are sticking around are there for you, not a facade that you sometimes call “you.”

Embracing flaws is the new perfection. They bring people together like no perfection ever could.

What to Do With Your Flaws

Now that you are starting to understand that maybe perfection isn’t so great and that maybe your flaws aren’t so bad, it can still be difficult to know what to do with them. After all, flaws don’t just magically disappear overnight. Here are some of the steps that you can take to reset your relationship with your flaws and say goodbye to the myth of perfection forever.

1. Accept Them

Perhaps the most straightforward and most effective path that you can take is to start accepting your flaws. This is the ideal route to take, especially if everyone else is pretty chilled out about them apart from you.

Most likely, your flaws will only be minor things like how your tooth is a bit wonky or how your walk is slightly strange. Most people’s flaws are things that only they see and that no-one else really pays attention to. Therefore, for your own peace of mind, it’s usually best to just accept them for what they are.

If you are surrounded by good people, they tend to love you because of your flaws, not despite your flaws, so why worry?

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2. Change Them

You never need to seek perfection, but if your flaws are standing in the way of your mental health, physical health, or relationships and accepting them isn’t doing anyone much good, then the next step is to try and change them.

Like with any change, though, it is important to not expect too much too soon, and to continue working towards the change in small steps, day by day. You wouldn’t expect to become a pro-golfer in a matter of weeks or even months, and this skill is no different. It is perhaps even more difficult.

3. Forget Them

If you can’t accept your flaws for whatever reason and are unable to change them, then a viable last resort is to simply do your best to forget about them. You will have had plenty of moments in your life where you weren’t thinking about them and felt completely happy. Maybe somebody told you a funny joke. Maybe you were in awe of a shooting star. Maybe you had an essay that had a creeping deadline.

These moments of not dwelling on your flaws, not being worried about perfection, and living in the moment have happened to you. They’re real. If you can’t stop your mind from focusing on your flaws when you are at rest, then take your mind off them by doing something else.

Build up enough of these “tactical distractions” and you might begin to realize that you can actually live your life despite these flaws, and then, paradoxically, they start to either become accepted or fade away altogether.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, throughout this article, you have come to realize that perfection isn’t a real thing and that the pursuit of perfection is a sure-fire way to live a life of misery and never feeling good enough. Perfection is shiny but made of nothing substantial.

On the other hand, flaws are something that you have, just like everyone else. If you don’t think that somebody has flaws, you obviously don’t know them well enough. However, flaws are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they are something to be celebrated. They bring you closer to the people that you care most about and are a part of your whole essence. Flaws aren’t shiny but are made of something whole and pure.

Perfection should be shunned. Flaws should be celebrated.

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More Tips on Accepting Your Flaws

Featured photo credit: Nihal Demirci via unsplash.com

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Daniel Riley

Daniel is a writer who specialises in personal development and helping others become the best version of themselves.

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Last Updated on August 10, 2020

10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

If you’re ready to do what you want in life, then the 10 principles of success are what you need to follow.

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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5. Embrace Your Inner Self

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward. Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

Here’s How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

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What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

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You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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