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Practically Perfect: Learning to Embrace Your Imperfections

Author: Tammy Taylor, CPT

How wonderful would it be if, like Mary Poppins, we could all proclaim proudly that we are “practically perfect in every way”. Even Mary Poppins with all her admirable traits and magical powers did not strive to be perfect in EVERY way – I mean, she was giving kids a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Yet, what she was able to recognize, is that being “practically perfect” was quite perfect enough. 

Why is it then that so many of us mere mortals strive to be more than practically perfect?

Author Brené Brown makes an important distinction between perfectionism and striving to be your best. In her best selling book, The Gifts of Imperfection, She states; “Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

Learning to accept our imperfections and become our authentic self has so many wonderful benefits. Self acceptance; enhances self worth, reduces anxiety, decreases our fear of failure and increases our joy in life.  What if from today on, you were to work with what you have been given, instead of against it? How much better would it be to not wait for the “perfect” situation or the “perfect” time to take action and begin to follow your dreams. Because the reality is 5 min of exercise is better than none. And to quote Mrs. Poppins “Well begun is half done”. 

The great news is, there are so many different ways we can begin to embrace our imperfections and rid ourselves of “all or nothing” thought distortions. 

  • Stop explaining yourself and trying to please others
  • Honor your feelings
  • Turn your weaknesses into strengths
  • Stay grateful 
  • Be mindful of your shortcomings, but still bring your greatest work to life
  • Enjoy the process of growth 
  • Stay committed to working thru the set backs
  • Take a break from social media
  • Cultivate self- compassion
  • Create lists with all you’ve accomplished 
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously 

And lastly, realize there is no such thing as being perfect. Or as this article so nicely says: “Perfectionism is losing your true self in the demands of society, and trying to emulate a person who is not you and whom you can never become. Excellence, on the other hand, is becoming the center of your own universe, and from that grounded, centered position, shining your light into the world by using your unique talents.”