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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How To Be Perfect If You Feel Ashamed of Your Flaws

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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

Reference

More by this author

Daniel Riley

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

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Published on October 26, 2021

10 Things To Do When You’re Angry At Yourself (For Your Mistakes)

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10 Things To Do When You’re Angry At Yourself (For Your Mistakes)

When you make a mistake, you quickly forget all the wins and praise lauded on you over the years. Make one measly mistake and it’s all you can think about. And, unfortunately, you may carry it with you for a lifetime. This is normal, but not healthy.

Mistakes happen, and the wise know that that’s how you learn. Stumble and fall, and get up again—it’s the cycle of human development from toddlerhood. Still, when you make mistakes, this experiential wisdom can fly out the door. Your first reaction may be, “I’m angry at myself.” This may also be the exact phrase you use in your Internet search for answers. First, know that you’re not alone. Second, there are numerous ways to cool this heated emotion and get yourself back on track.

So, sit back, take a deep breath, and consider these ten things you can do when you’re angry at yourself for your mistakes

1. Remember, You’re Human

Everyone makes mistakes, and you will, too. Once you’ve realized that you are a part of this imperfect group called humans, you’ll feel better about your journey. In fact, when you’re angry for making mistakes, consider it a rite of passage. You’ll inevitably fail at times, say things that you shouldn’t, or fall short of expectations. Not to be glib, but rather honest—this is life. It’s being human. So, whatever mistakes you’ve made before and whatever ones you will make in the future, they’ll help you grow as a professional and as a human.

2. Get Your Anger in Check

Anger is a troubling emotion because it clouds your judgment and logical decision-making process. It’s also incredibly unhealthy. Anger fuels a spike in your blood pressure, increases stress and risk of cardiovascular disease, and suppresses your immune system. Additionally, unmitigated anger can fuel dangerous outcomes including violence and addicted behaviors.

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You need to learn how to manage your anger. By admitting aloud, “I’m angry at myself,” you own your state of mind. Now, check it. Don’t let it fester and grow. Remember, mistakes are manageable, but untethered anger is not. If you don’t get your anger in check, it can have a negative impact on the rest of your life.

3. Vent and Get It Off Your Chest

One way to get your anger diffused is to vent. There’s nothing more liberating than sharing how you feel with the world. But take note—venting on social media isn’t a wise idea. It can derail your personal and professional life if you go off on someone or indulge in a self-deprecating rant.

Instead, find a trusted source to vent to. This could be anyone from a friend to your pet. Just tell them, “I’m angry at myself.” Get off your chest all the bottled-up emotions weighing you down. The company of a trusted group of friends or even a support group is a great place to vent. These collectives are designed to listen to whatever is weighing you down.

You might even find the best place for you to vent is a journal. Writing down how you feel and what you’ve learned from this experience is not only a great way to vent but also gives you a place to park your thoughts and emotions for later reflection.

4. Get Up and Get Moving

Exercise and activity are great ways to exhaust the “I’m angry at myself” emotion bubbling within. Take a brisk walk or attack the weight bag or consider cleaning out the closet or garage. Occupying your mind, body, and soul with productive physical activity is the next logical step in freeing yourself from this burden.

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There is nothing more liberating than working up a healthy sweat. You’ll find that physical activity will instantly diffuse your anger and that a spike of endorphins gives you clarity. Once you’ve found a healthy way to exercise your adrenaline, you’re ready to step into a logical space and examine what went wrong and how can you manage things better next time.

5. Seek Counsel From Others

When you’re angry or dealing with any heightened emotion, your judgment is clouded. It’s hard to find your way out of the forest. Seek counsel—whether it’s in the form of a friend, family member, or professional—and tell them, “I’m angry at myself,” and layout why. They’ll listen and will help you sort through your anger. They may also offer advice on what you could change moving forward or how you could get past self-berating. Their authentic positive affirmations and willingness to listen will be the best antidote for your anger.

Keep in mind, it’s not a sign of weakness to seek out professional help, especially if anger is an ongoing reaction you experience to setbacks. A counselor or clinician is trained to help you unearth the root of such emotions and help you explore why they are triggered. Moving forward, you’ll have the skills to better manage your emotions and explore alternate and more thoughtful paths when mistakes occur.

6. Tamper Down Your Inner Critic

Don’t let mistakes flair up that inner voice that says, “I’m not good enough.” While you’ll wonder if it’s true and for a moment (or two) believe your inner critic, stop yourself from heading down that victim slippery slope. Giving in to your inner critic can halt your progress. You’ll succumb to the doubt and always wonder, “if I tried again, would the same results occur?”

That kind of paralyzing fear will get you nowhere. Instead, recall the words of your counsel and your inner wisdom—mistakes will happen. So, announce aloud, “I made a mistake. I’m angry at myself.” Then park it there, shut off the engine, and walk away. The next day, get up and get back to life, and don’t let wasteful, inaccurate, and self-sabotaging inner dialogue slow you down.

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7. Learn From Your Mistakes

I’d like you to go back to the idea that mistakes happen and that they happen for a reason so that you can learn what not to do. “I’m angry at myself” should be the motivator to get it right. Stop and explore where the lesson is here. What is one thing you won’t do moving forward? What else did you take away? Perhaps there are people you need to speak with to smooth things over. There may be some course corrections that you need to make to move forward in a more positive direction.

Recently, I participated in a pivotal career conversation that didn’t go well at all. “I’m angry at myself,” I thought, for speaking too much in the moment to try and make things right, where silence would have been the best alternative. I learned from this mistake. Instead of overtalking, sometimes just pausing and listening is all that is needed. Moving forward, I’ve practiced more restraint when needed and have walked away from my professional conversations with better results and more confidence.

8. Take Time for Yourself

“I’m angry at myself” is one of the better motivators to get happy with yourself again. How? Exercise, reset, relaxation, and healthy distractions are just some of your gateways into a better headspace. Too often, people believe that the best way to get over something is to jump right back into it—whatever it is—or wherever your mistake is rooted. While this does work for many, some need a little time and space to sort it all out—and that’s okay. Separating yourself from the situation for a while and taking a mental health break can do wonders to cleanse your spirit. It may also give you some greater clarity.

Right now, you may be too close to the mistake(s) to gain a clear perspective. Remember, it’s okay to step back for a while and clear your head without feeling guilty about taking time for yourself. This mental reset will put some space between you and the mistakes so that you can come back refreshed and in a better state to step up and move forward.

9. Practice Relaxation Skills

Deep breathing, yoga, and meditation can do wonders to help you relax and reduce your heightened emotions. Just like exercise, you may discover that this form of release and restoration will not only help you work through your anger but also help you clear your head and restore your confidence. This may also be the time to build your own personal relaxation practice so the next time you make a mistake, you can step into your healing and restorative practice space and quiet your mind, body, and soul.

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10. Forgive Yourself

“To err is human, to forgive is divine.” We know this to be true, but don’t always practice it. Forgiveness is the true path to healing. You’ve probably have heard many stories about how this process has helped people come back from a very dark place including recovering from illness.

Forgiveness is powerful and is the only way to move forward. So, I’m going to leave you with this final challenge: how can you transition “I’m angry at myself” to “I forgive myself?”

Final Thoughts

When you find yourself stewing about all the “woulda, coulda, shouldas” that accompany the overarching thought “I’m angry at myself,” you have no more excuses to wallow in the derailing emotion of anger. Experimenting with one or all of the above strategies can help you shorten the period between making a mistake and having a moment of enlightenment. The reckoning that you’re human, you have people that believe in you, you have resources to support you, and you have a golden opportunity to learn and move forward should be all you need to make tomorrow better and your future better.

More Tips on How To Handle Your Mistakes

Featured photo credit: Marcos Paulo Prado via unsplash.com

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