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Published on: 09/2/06 8:48 AM

Feature: Embrace Your Imperfections

Embrace your imperfections!

Don’t berate yourself endlessly for things that don’t matter in the long run. Learn to accept your flaws and grow to like them instead. 

Agreed, we live in an unforgiving age, surrounded by examples of perfection everywhere. People with perfectly worked out bodies, perfectly intelligent minds, perfectly honed talents; the perfect fathers, mothers, spouse, siblings, offspring, friends. Agreed, it’s enough to make you look in the mirror and immediately head for the bathroom to throw up.

However, it’s time you learnt to love yourself, warts and all. The truth is nobody is perfect. Nobody. Film stars and Page 3 celebs are all airbrushed; others who radiate perfection are either role-playing or donning an image. Both of which are all too easy to do, in small doses, for a short period of time.

Of course, there are some people who pass the perfect or near perfect tests, day after day. These are people who have actually worked at themselves. They have, first of all, accepted their imperfections. Then they have grown to like these flaws. And ultimately, they have learned to love the warps and wefts of their external and internal psyche. So, they give off rays of happiness and serenity, of happiness and vivacity… and the onlooker finds that perfect!

Let’s begin with the most obvious point. You feel you have an imperfect body. Your hips are way too wide, you have what are politely called `love handles’ but which you know to be spare tyres. Your eyes are close set, your chin has a doppelganger or two, your feet are Hagrid-like… okay, you get the picture, don’t you? And a less than pretty picture it makes.

Focus on your assets

Well, it’s time to step back and focus on the woods, not the trees. Focus on your assets. Look hard and you’ll find your imperfect body comes along with its own inbuilt good points, too. Your large eyes, your graceful hands, your loping walk, your thick head of hair. Seek and you shall find. Play up your assets, play down what you think are your imperfections (actually, they are but quirks) and be happy in your skin, in your body.

So you think, no, you know, that you are an imperfect mate. You aren’t as good a wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend as the neighbour, your colleague at work or your best friend seems to be. And of course, imperfection deserves imperfection. Which is why your relationship seems stuck in a rut, you are in a soulless dead end and there seems to be no way out.

We have a secret just for you: you are the best! Really and truly. Your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend is with you only because he/she thinks you are the best. They like you for the essential person you are and if they are sometimes irked by your imperfect ways (actually, we call them quirky ways) well, they let you know so… and that’s your cue to work on the wrinkles.

So you are convinced you are imperfect at work. Which, of course, is why the big promotion has passed you by. Which is why your bosses never seem to appreciate you. Which is why you have lost all enjoyment in your work and drag yourself to the workplace, day after relentless day. It’s a sad life, indeed.

The victim frame of mind

This perceived imperfection needs a spot of serious introspection. First of all, get out of the victim frame of mind. You are not flawed, the job is not a bad fit for you. You just have to improve your work style.

Observe the most successful among your colleagues and note their winning characteristics and manoeuvres. Ask your boss for some one-on-one time and discuss what you could do to upgrade your work and professional profile.

Improve your work style, eliminate the imperfection, no, the quirks, but do it your way, at your pace. Do it all the while telling yourself that you are good.

You’ve just crowned yourself the most imperfect pal. And why? Because you find you are easily irritated by some of the things your circle of friends does or says. Sometimes you snap at a bewildered pal. Other times, you find you are jealous of their achievements.

What you need to know here is that friends are like the perfect pearl necklace, where each pearl has a different shape. So let us reiterate, you may be an eccentric, a quirky pal, but you are not an imperfect friend. The small irritations are just that, small… no big deal. What is a big deal? You are there for your friends when the chips are down. Which makes you a perfect pal, see?

This is one thing that people agonise a lot over… being an imperfect person. As in, you label yourself loud, brash, over-sensitive, clumsy, aggressive, pushy, timid… the whole package deal of imperfections, in fact. And what you see yourself, you slowly become. Which is how you drown in a sea of perceived imperfections.

You’ve lost sight of one vital fact: They love you out there. Just as you are. Loud but funny. Timid but sincere. Aggressive but always able to rustle up film tickets or restaurant table bookings at short notice. You see, others know these `imperfections’ of yours to be mere quirks! So, join the gang, won’t you? Start to love yourself.

This ran in THE HINDU of 2 Sept 2006.

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Sheila Kumar • September 2, 2006

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