Being happy with the imperfect

Hey friend,

Being happy does not mean that everything is perfect but that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.

this is really a positive message, don’t you think? I can achieve happiness despite all my imperfections. Wow!

But this quote also raises some questions to me. I have the feeling that nowadays many people are striving for happiness. Why is that? Happiness wasn’t so much of a need in the past decades, was it? Maybe I was just to young to notice and adults have ever been struggeling for happiness, but my personal impression is that the search for happiness is a phenomenom of the present time. Does that mean we are all unhappy? Are we less happy than people were in the past? Or is it a matter of self-fulfillment?  Why is it so difficult and how can we finally become happy? That’s probably the question most people like to have an answer. Let’s see what my mind is coming up with …

Happiness

Nobody is perfect

Additionally, there is still more in this quote. (im)Perfection. Are you one of those who call themselves a perfectionist? I am, unfortunately. For a long time I didn’t realize what is so bad about being a perfectionist. Have you ever thought about it? Being a perfectionist means always performing perfect. Anything less than perfect is bothering you, making you fearful about potentially not being enough. Always struggeling to (over)fulfil everybodys expectations, avoiding any disappointment. Always please others, always be nice. Hell, that’s exhausting and it’s sickening.

Just remember,

Nobody is perfect.

and nobody ever will be. Not me and you not either. Many people still try to reach perfection and although I now have realized the flip side I’m still struggeling to accept my own imperfections. I know how hard it can be. And the longer you’ve cultivated perfection, the harder it will probably be. Potentially sacrificing approval, appraisal, and admiration for allowing yourself to be imperfect can be damn scaring. But when you accept that every human being, including you, is valuable and worth of being loved, just because he or she is, it will become easier to give up perfection.

Be authentic instead of perfect

One of my morning affirmations I try to practice daily is:

I give up being perfect for being authentic.

It reminds me that authenticity and integrity is was punctuates my own worth not perfection.

Moreover, perfection is obviously not helpful for reaching happiness. This may sound bitter at first, however it also opens a great opportunity. The opportunity it offers is “I can achieve happiness despite all my imperfection”. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to disappoint others here and there. It’s ok not to be perfect. I can stop this exhausting lifestyle and turn it into something more relaxed.

Why is it so confoundedly hard? Where does it even come from? Well, I think, it’s about how we grow up, what we learn during childhood and adolescence. When did parents, teachers, friends compliment us? How did they treat us if we made a mistake? Did you encounter blame, criticism and amendment? Maybe also disappointment, anger and punishment? Despite punishment, I did. At one point or the other, I internalized the expectation of perfection and turned into my own biggest critic. In that I’m hardly ever satisfied with myself and hardly ever really happy.

IMG_20170729_081517

Of course, moments of happiness twinkeled, but they vanished so fast being insubstantial and empty. It was really frustrating not being able to keep the good feeling alive.

The good news: become happy by accepting your imperfection

As long as I was striving for perfection I was damned to failure. By accepting the imperfect it’s no longer impossible to become happy. That’s the good news. So, how can we all learn to accept the imperfect? To my mind, a good starting point is start recognizing the fear that accompanies the attempt of being imperfect. Reflect on what it is exactly that creates this fear or unpleasant feeling. Are you mad about how others could judge you? Are you insecure about your own worth? What is it that drives your need for perfection? As soon as you have identified, you may start to reflect on the purpose and wheter it still makes sens. It may have been a good strategy in childhood, but now that you’re grown up, some of our trained patterns are not useful anymore. Try to identify those unuseful patterns and think about a way to replace it by a pattern that seems reasonable to day.

Of course, what you have to do is practice. Practice, practice, practice. No one is born a master. And don’t let yourself be trapped trying to do it perfect again. Carefully notice the result of being imperfect. Are others really blaming you? Does the worst case scenario that’s spinning around in your head really come true? Be aware. Be confident. Be present.

In doing so, you’re on the right track to happiness and it will finally find you.

Good luck!

With hugs and an open heart,

Elis

 

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