Many of us are conditioned culturally to believe in the myth of perfection. We think being perfect is something we can actually achieve, so we strive endlessly to attain this notion of perfection. We alter our bodies, our feelings and our personalities. We never feel as though we’re good enough or that we measure up to other people. We see our flaws as proof that we are in fact not good enough. Our imperfections become the evidence we use against ourselves to prove our inadequacy. Healing from our mental health issues and our addictions means not only abstaining from our drug of choice and ridding ourselves of our painful symptoms, but also learning how to forge a new relationship with ourselves. We have to create a new self-image and self-perception that is based on self-love and self-acceptance. We have to accept all the parts of who we are, not just the ones that we deem to be good enough. When we reject parts of who we are and shun ourselves, we’re engaging in subconscious self-sabotage and self-destruction.
Part of healing our relationship with ourselves is learning to embrace our perceived imperfections as elements that contribute to our uniqueness and our individuality. Our imperfections are often gateways to learning more about ourselves. Examining our imperfections can allow us to have a deeper understanding of who we are. Being unafraid to embrace our imperfections increases our emotional intelligence and our ability to handle our difficult thoughts and emotions with ease and grace. Accepting our imperfections means making the conscious choice to work towards self-development and progress rather than unattainable perfection. It is healthy to want to grow and change and to want to improve ourselves and our lives, but when our desire for self-improvement become disparaging and deprecating of who we already are, we’re being guided out of self-hate and self-rejection rather than self-love and self-acceptance. We are manifesting out of fear and insecurity rather than faith in ourselves.
Learning to embrace our imperfections means facing our fears of inadequacy, of inferiority, of failure, of taking responsibility for our lives. It means shedding the avoidance, denial and escapism we’ve used as coping mechanisms for our addictions and mental health issues. One way to mindfully work to embrace our imperfections is to list out the things we want to change or improve about ourselves. Maybe it’s how we respond to stress that we perceive to be a glaring imperfection. Perhaps we become emotionally reactive rather than staying calm. Write these things down and look at the words you’ve written, allowing yourself to feel any fear, anxiety and discomfort that come up.
We’re used to running from these fears, and we’ve grown accustomed to preventing ourselves from feeling bad about our perceived imperfections by escaping into a drug or relationship because we feel so down on ourselves. Conversely, sometimes we wallow in our feelings of low self-esteem and beat ourselves up with harsh self-judgment. Look at your fears of inadequacy and your imperfections and then allow the energy of your fear to move through you without acting on it, without speaking to yourself unkindly or picking up a drink or planning a way to distract yourself. The more we sit with our fear and embrace it, the more we allow its energy to move through us rather than overpowering us. This is an effective way to work with our fear of imperfection with mindfulness and conscious awareness rather than avoidance and escapism. As we practice, we’re working toward self-development and shedding our self-deprecation.
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