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Perfectly Human

April 23, 2019


 “Man is the creature who wants to be God.” Jean-Paul Sartre

I hate to break it to you, but you, me and all of us are not and will never be perfect.  We’ve not yet ascended to the level of the Divine — nor will we ever. It seems that imperfection is our nature and there really is nothing to be done about it. We are just so very human.

Yet we do so try to be perfect, don’t we? And when we fail, we are filled with self-loathing, shame and fear. We are our own toughest critics.

Effects of self-criticism and its cohorts self-loathing, shame and fear are huge. The consequences include depression, anxiety, self-medication and addiction, as well chronic people-pleasing.

“Imperfection is the basic principle of Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese philosophy of accepting your imperfections and making the most of life.” Thomas Oppong

However, recovery from the lack of self-acceptance is possible. And so, despite a life-time of rejecting my human imperfection, I’m experiencing some Wabi-Sabi moments. Yes, really.

What I mean is that I’m beginning, however reluctantly, to see my imperfection as not a bad thing at all. I’m beginning to see that my serenity, my peace of mind and my wellbeing depend on radical self-acceptance.

And radical self-acceptance means unconditionally accepting all of me —  the good and the not so good as well as that amorphous grey in the middle.  My radical self-acceptance plan also includes a daily commitment to not attempt to hide my imperfections from others.

As a result, I’m beginning to experience, not just self-acceptance, but compassionate appreciation of some of those very defects in me that I originally loathed. After all, hadn’t many of them protected me? Hadn’t they opened the door to worlds not yet explored? Haven’t those very defects placed me on a spiritual path of learning and growth as well as compassion for myself and for others?

“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be LIVED. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically LIVED.”  Mandy Hale

As one of my teachers recently pointed out, if we were already perfect there would be no reason to be alive, because life itself is all about evolution and change.

Besides which, life would be a pretty boring place with nothing to learn and no challenges to overcome, wouldn’t it?

“I’m not okay, and you’re not okay, but that’s all right.” Ernest Kurtz

And so, I invite you to join me in this place of serene acceptance – a place of no shame, no self-pity, no self-loathing and no fear of rejection of your sweetly perfect yet imperfect self.

It’s a place that shifts and changes, of course. It inconveniently disappears and then mysteriously reappears in unexpected moments. But I am even more and more accepting of the fluid nature of this serenity thing.

And there is no one more surprised about this development than I am.

“I am perfect in my imperfection. Life is in love with my quirkiness.”  Mary Rizk