Beautiful Imperfection

The idea of perfection causes struggle from a young age. I tell my son, “No one expects you to be perfect. We only expect you to do your best. It’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are part of learning.” These are the wise words that we tell children. It is wisdom lost in a mirror’s reflection. It’s as if we believe that at some age we stop learning, that we are not allowed to make mistakes once we reach adulthood. Perhaps we need to be reminded again, like when we were children.

You are not, nor will you ever be perfect. The perfect spouse. The perfect parent. The perfect person. Attempting to attain the unattainable is misspent energy. And you know what? You don’t want to be perfect. Perfection is overrated.

Imperfection is beautiful. Any flower will tell you this is true. This is more than a philosophical pondering, but a subject of science and art. Give me the haphazard placement of branches on a tree over the parallel lines of a building. Perfectly symmetrical faces don’t seem natural. There is something perfect about subtle imperfection. For all of the things that are wrong, there are more that are right.

Tattered coneflower, beautiful to the bee

Imperfection is a sibling of Free Will. We are not bound to perfection, we are bound to choice. Wrong decisions are made, no matter how much time is spent deliberating. Thinking that a perfect decision is possible is a deception, and one that creates the daunting task of doing what is impossible for us to do. Imperfect people with Free Will inevitably dig deep holes and try not to fall in.

Smaller, everyday holes have a special beauty. The kind of holes that make the road a little bumpy and interesting. Tiny holes as unique as the person with the hand shovel.

Therein lies the personality of the people whom we love. The sleeping too deeply. The burning of dinner. The mud tracked into the house. Annoyingly unique and wonderfully imperfect. Quirky and stumbling over our Free Will like we’re supposed to be, like we can’t help but be. Perfect in our imperfection.

Release the fantasy of perfection. No one expects you to be perfect. Just do the best you can. Stretch yourself, make mistakes and learn from them. It’s the only way to grow.

7 thoughts on “Beautiful Imperfection

  1. Some days* I think that you crawl into my brain while I’m sleeping. Poke around, maybe dust a little…and then come back out going “So this is what Erin needs to hear today” – and then you write something that catches my breath and makes me so thankful that you’re my friend. Yet again you’ve done it and written exactly what I needed to hear when I need to hear it in a way that makes me actually WANT to release that fantasy.

    So today? I’m gonna do the best I can. Thanks for the reminder <3

    *By someday, I do mean…every. single. day.

    1. You are perfect just the way you are, Erin. You are beautiful! I know you do your best.
      Also, next time I need to remember my flashlight. :)

  2. A friend of mine sent me an email years ago that I still remember. It was just one of those generic forwarded emails – She’s THAT friend who forwards EVERYTHING! But this one got my attention.

    An old Chinese lady is carrying two buckets that hang on both sides of a bamboo stick.

    One of the buckets is cracked, whereby the other one is completely fine and strong.

    At the end of the trip from the river to the house the cracked bucket is only able to carry half of the water. This happens every day for two years and the old Chinese lady only carries one and a half buckets instead of two full buckets of water.

    The strong bucket is so proud of his contribution to the old lady.

    The cracked bucket, however, feels very sad and ashamed as she is not capable of helping the old lady.

    After two years of failure and struggling, the cracked bucket speaks with the old lady at the side of the river. “I am so ashamed of myself as due to my disability, half of the water that you carry is wasted along the way to your house.

    The old lady smiles. “Do you realize that along your side of the path there are many beautiful flowers whereby there are none on the other side of the path?

    This is because I always realized your weaknesses, therefore I threw flower seeds along your path. Everyday, whenever we walk home from the river, you have watered the seeds without your realizing.

    And for the past two years, I am able to pluck the beautiful flowers and put them on the table.”If you were not as you are, I might not have such beautiful things in this house..

    Everyone of us has weaknesses, but the weaknesses are what actually make our lives unique and interesting.

    – Thank you for making my side of the road beautiful!

    1. I love this. Thank you for making my side of the road beautiful too, Michelle! We both do our best and we sometimes burn the toast! Good for us! :)

  3. Pingback: Guilt and Pride «

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