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Nobody Wants Perfect, Flaws are Beautiful

Nobody Wants Perfect, Flaws are Beautiful

We live in a world of flaws. Ironically, we place a high value on beauty and perfection. Every day, we are bombarded with advertisements featuring perfectly symmetrical and beautiful faces and bodies trying to sell to us. These ads woo us with the promise that if we get what “they” have, we can be as attractive as they are, too. Not only that, we also respond to the subconscious message that the beautiful are happier, richer, nicer, and more popular than the rest of us.

While this may work to get us to buy some products and services, there are a few drawbacks to selling perfection:

We are unable to relate. People who are very beautiful or successful are often seen and treated as “other.” This is also true of people held up as “saints” or moral examples. We may admire them, but have a hard time relating with their “perfection” on a human level.

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Perfection is simply a myth. If you hang around a perfect person long enough, you will quickly realize that they are not as perfect as they first seemed. They have idiosyncrasies and flaws just like we do. It can often be a deeply satisfying experience to learn that someone we admire is flawed. A shared shortcoming is even more powerful, as it helps us to not feel alone in the world. It can also give hope to someone who is struggling with their flaws. It lets them know that they can keep their shortcomings in check and live fulfilling and productive lives.

Perfection is not for sale. When we try to buy perfection, what we are really seeking is human connection. But what’s more human than the shared experience of being both flawed and beautiful?

Why Flaws Are Beautiful

While one aspect of beauty is symmetry, another important aspect is uniqueness. Our flaws are not simply unwelcome nuisances, they are integral parts of our lives. Each of us has our own combination of flaws and struggles that make us who we are. They make us unique, special, and beautiful.

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Flaws come in many flavors. Here are three areas of life in which we experience flaws, as well as ways we can harness their beauty and manage them positively.

Character Flaws

These are the personality flaws that can be as harmless as shyness or as hurtful as habitual lying. To be clear, there is not much beauty to be found in lying, cheating, or exhibiting arrogant behavior. When we see others engaging in such acts, our knee-jerk reaction is to be judgmental. But if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we too have the potential to do similar things under the right circumstances. We may even be able to recall a time in our lives when we fell victim to our own similar flaws. Here is where the beauty lies. It is in the acknowledgement that we can identify, at least in part, with another’s struggle. That in sharing our own struggles, we can strengthen another to help them manage or even overcome destructive behavior that come from their flaws. This beauty expresses the reality that we are all limited and that we need each other.

Some ways to manage character flaws:

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  • Acknowledge the flaw and any associated destructive behavior that is bringing harm to yourself and others.
  • Seek to replace destructive habits with positive ones.
  • Don’t go it alone. Employ the help of friends, loved ones, or professionals.
  • Accept the minor flaws that are not causing undue pain to yourself or others.
  • Seek out ways to help others in similar situations.

Physical Flaws

One of the negative side effects of a culture saturated with images of beautiful people is that it highlights the ways that “we” are not like “them.” My nose is not as straight, my jaw is not as strong, my teeth are not as white, my eyes are too big, my skin is too dark. This list of “flaws” can go on forever, and so can the insecurities that come from them. Some of us may have unusual physical features or scars that we experience as flaws. Know that your beauty comes not only from your physical appearance, but also from loving and embracing your physical uniqueness. Here is another thing to keep in mind: Having a physical feature that is not celebrated by society is not a flaw. It is you. It is me. It is beautiful.

Some tips on physical flaws:

  • Realize that we notice more about ourselves than other people do.
  • Resist the urge to constantly compare yourself with others.
  • Truly accept the beautiful person that you are, “flaws” and all. Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say “I am beautiful!”

Emotional Scars

Our world is not perfect. Sometimes we bump into its imperfection in dramatic ways that can cause emotional scars. All it takes is one traumatic incident to change our lives forever. A person dealing with emotional scars may find it hard to trust, love, or feel safe. There may be a tendency to hide these scars, but healing often comes when we are able to expose them gently to the light. Some of the deepest human connections and bonds happen when we allow others into our most vulnerable spaces. This is beauty.

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Some ways to manage emotional scars:

  • Acknowledge the pain.
  • Do not be afraid to be vulnerable by sharing your story with someone you love and trust.
  • Be patient. Emotional wounds often heal or subside with the passage of time.
  • Seek the help of a professional counselor or therapist.
  • Let go.

May you discover the beauty in your flaws today, and know that you are gorgeous.

Featured photo credit: geralt via pixabay.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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