Embracing Imperfection | Lesson of the Week #3

Posted on Posted in Lessons, Travel

I’ve decided to start embracing the imperfect. Like my latest coffee (tea) mug that has the English major part of my brain perplexed and asking questions such as: Did the makers of the mug not know that “beautiful” is spelled with one “L?” Were they trying to create an homage to the glass being half full? Did they think it would look weird if the mug said “ful?”

Regardless, I like the mug so much that I bought it and use it every day.

During my Camino de Santiago hike, I started to realize that the things that bugged me about the people I traveled with (and that I saw as flaws) became the things I loved most about them. One of my especially strong-willed friends was so stubborn at times that it made helping her a challenge when she needed it. However, that stubbornness was and continues to be exhibited in her unfailing love towards everyone in our group. The way she cares without ceasing is a beautiful thing to watch. She is a complex person and I love her because of it.

As it turned out, what I initially perceived as imperfect was perfect just the way it was.

[Look at this beautiful flower missing a few petals. It is like a self-portrait.]

Regarding personal appearances, I will tell you about my “Cindy Crawford.” I have a tasteful mole above the right side of my lips that is one of my favorite features. As I grew up, I prayed that I would have a mole just like Cindy, and now I do. Even though every professional photographer Photoshops it out of my work photos and Grams has been known to mistake it for a piece of dirt, I embrace it on my face. The world’s opinions be darned.

Then there are imperfect situations, like not being able to say goodbye to a loved one or being stuck at a standstill in life or relationships. There are misunderstandings, money troubles, and worries about the future. Life can feel like it is falling apart and that homeostasis, let alone “perfection,” is far away.

All of these things make us human. They simply are. Not everything has an immediate solution and the journey can be a long and winding path to something even better than expected. Or not. But you can choose to go down the path kicking and screaming or decide to learn how to bend, bring about change, or forge your own path.

I, myself, am not that flexible, but am trying to make slow progress. My brain likes order and routine, yet I find myself living the life of a freelancer and traveler with the challenges that come along with it. I told myself for years that I did not want that kind of life and that I could never make it work, but I am learning to embrace the process of slow progress, listening to the guiding voice inside, and feeling more fulfilled because of it.

What I have found lately is that imperfection is a matter of perspective. Like the first Lesson of the Week on the challenges of not always knowing the whole story, I have started to realize that sometimes the situations and perceived character flaws that I make judgements about are things that I do not have a full understanding of. Our humanity and our situations are complex, and I am not always aware of their beauty until I have experienced more than I had in the past. Sometimes, it is best to let things be, embracing and accepting them for all that they are. I have found that is a quicker way to manifest peace.

There are many questions I have and relationships I want to fix in my life, but I have decided to take life a day at a time – and a minute at a time when necessary. Things are not my definition of perfection, but that makes me feel very connected to the big, beautiful ball of humanity that we were all lucky enough to be born into.

As you go through your week, I encourage you to embrace the imperfect, challenge the notion of perfection, and see the complex and wonderful humanity of yourself and others. Step away from the stress and let things be or take small actions to bring change.


P.S. Have a story you want to share with the rest of the class that connects to this message? Leave it in the comments. 🙂

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