Perfect Imperfection

Edgy. Edgy best describes my combined irritable and impatient mood for the last two weeks. I could not pinpoint the exact cause, so I started to worry. And I mean REALLY worry. I was scared that I was becoming depressed again. I was not just scared; I was terrified. I felt helpless, not knowing the cause, and could not fix what I did not know. And if I could not “fix myself,” I might end up back in that dark place. Again. All alone.

Then last week, a friend described her new website, which she was ready to launch. In fact, she could have launched days before. Yet, she hadn’t. Because she was worried it was not perfect. That is, because if she was not perfect, that meant she was a failure.

I immediately advised her to launch. I told her it did not need to be perfect, that nothing is ever perfect, and that imperfection is not only okay but also human and necessary for growth. We also discussed how life and new businesses are not static journeys. We constantly are evolving, which is a good thing. I told her I was here for support and that embracing support makes a big difference.

Then I had my “uh huh” moment. It was like a bolt of lightning that has a way of striking when we do not practice what we preach. Here I was, the voice of experience, telling someone to embrace imperfection, that imperfection is freeing, and that even imperfect, she had help. Yet, I had not used any of this advice myself.

But wait, I thought I had gotten over this and was finally comfortable with who I really am for the first time. That is true. But what also is true is that 50 years of the same behavior patterns do not disappear so quickly.

When chatting with my therapist, I realized that while likely not depressed, I was replicating an old pattern of behavior — just in a new way. I was expecting myself to live up to my unrealistic expectations of what it meant to be “imperfect.” I had a view of my imperfect self and had gotten comfortable with that person – so long as it coincided with my high “standard of imperfection .” However, once I deviated from my own standard and no longer felt in control (reminder to self: feeling not in control is a trigger-LOL!), I started to self-loathe. I hated myself for not being “perfectly imperfect.” Sounds sort of ridiculous when I say it out loud, right?

And while I was busy battling with myself in my head, I forgot about something fundamental: the unconditional support of my tribe. I was so worried about not showing up for my friends and loved ones that I could not see that they were showing up for me. For weeks, my tribe had been signaling to me – – in dozens of ways – that it is okay to be imperfect and cranky. They were signaling in every way that, together, we got this.

Having realized all of this has helped my mood for sure. First, I remembered that being imperfect – – even in my imperfection – is natural and okay. I also learned, once again, how freeing it is to accept imperfection. It allows me to focus on my dreams without distraction. Finally, I realized that my tribe accepts and supports me no matter what – perfection is not required for admission.

I am sharing this multi-layered and convoluted experience not because of its significance to me. Instead, I am hoping to normalize the taboo of imperfection by openly talking about it. One of my goals is to help normalize experiences we all share but are too ashamed to discuss. We all struggle with imperfection, mental health, wellness, uncertainty, insecurity, fear and disappointment. It is our shared experiences that connect us. We all need connection.

It is okay to own it all. And I promise, owning it instead of fearing it will free you to live your dreams.

No one here fights alone. Together, we got this.

Quote in the photo below was shared with me by the amazing Melissa Lewis-Stoner. Thanks Melissa!

1 Comment

This really hit home!! SOOO grateful our paths have crossed!