Perfectly Imperfect

By: Erin Sweeney, MA, LMSW

We are all perfectly imperfect

We are all flawed and good

We all have light and darkness in us

I’m finding that many of us experience one of the following:

  1. We are blind to or deny the imperfections, flaws, the “bad” in us

  2. We are blind to or deny the “goodness” in us

We struggle to hold the tension and accept ourselves with the “good” and the “bad.”  If we accept ourselves only when we are perfect, we either end up denying the “bad” or we are discouraged and unaccepting of ourselves because we have flaws.  We might put on an illusion for others that we are perfect, and we might even put on that illusion for ourselves.  Others of us might focus solely on these imperfections, missing all of the good, becoming discouraged, and label ourselves as “bad” or “defective,” or some other untrue thing.

Sometimes, we hold onto the the “bad” parts of us in a dark and secret place, never being brave enough to let these secrets see the light.  I’ve seen this keep people feeling lonely and disconnected.  We believe, “If people saw these parts of me, they would abandon, reject, or hurt me in some way.”  What happens is we can never be fully loved, because we are never fully seen and known.  We live with a secret.  Sometimes that secret can feel like the core of who we are, when really it’s a periphery imperfection that would not seem so defining in the light.

It takes a lot of courage to hold onto the fact that we are flawed and good at the same time.  It is even braver to let someone in on the secret.  It requires a great deal of vulnerability to share the “bad” parts of us with another person.  With safe people who love us, we can experience so much love in sharing these things.  It’s possible another person will love us, flaws and all!  Then we can stop telling ourselves we have an unacceptable and unlovable part of us.  We can find acceptance of our imperfections within us.  We can find acceptance of our imperfections with ourselves and with others.  Therapy can be a great place to start being honest with yourself about these imperfections and honest with someone else who is safe.  Whether you are working on accepting the “good” and “bad” in yourself, or need to know someone else can, therapy is a great place to start.