How to embrace imperfections and flaws
As all of us do, sometimes I fall into the trap of hating on myself for my flaws and mistakes. I contemplate what my life would have looked like if I had made this decision, or been better at that skill. I look at so-and-so’s life and wonder why my life doesn’t also look that way. Why didn’t I do better? What’s wrong with me?
If you’re anything like me, you also imagine alternative, inevitably better versions of yourself and your life. You don’t think about the imperfections, irritations, and problems of those alternatives. It’s natural to daydream about this other “you” that is blissfully free from those flaws.
But here’s the catch: There is no such thing as the perfect choice or the perfect person. Even if you had every single “good” trait and no “bad” traits, you would still have difficult situations or people who don’t like you. Even if you never made a mistake, problems would still arise. Even if you had stayed in that relationship, it still would have come with hard times. We contemplate how the grass is greener– but we forget that weeds still grow over there, too. Every version of our lives that was ever possible, came with good and bad. This duality is inherent to our humanity.
Your only basis for comparison is your actual life, the flaws of which you are probably very familiar. As a result, our brain is falling into a very common fallacy: drawing conclusions with limited evidence.
When we let go of the pressure to have chosen the perfect job, or the perfect partner, or the perfect life path, happiness finds us much more readily. We recognize that imperfection, flaws, and mistakes would exist no matter what, and even with their presence, our personalities and lives come with a lot of good, too. Your mistakes, perceived flaws, and losses have shaped you in many ways for the better. If your life didn’t take this path, you also wouldn’t have your gifts.
We can never guarantee that the road not taken would have been a smooth ride– and if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that it likely would have had detours and potholes, too. Longing for the “perfect” version of things is a fool’s errand.
Imperfection is part of life, but we don’t have to see it as a barrier to our well-being. Practice keeping yourself from falling into this thinking error and see how it changes your outlook.