The gifts of imperfection — Summary

Learn how to be yourself

Most of us don’t live out their true desires but instead, live according to other peoples rules. The problem with trying to fulfill other’s expectations, however, is that we will never satisfy them all and even if we do, we are still not funfilled because we don’t really like what we are doing. So how can we live according to our true passion?

Be authentic

If you are like most people, you would like to be as authentic as possible in your everyday life. The problem, however, is that factors like pressure from our peers and our lack of self-confidence get in the way of our authenticity.

Being authentic is a choice we have to make, at least in the beginning when we are not used to be authentic. It is not a fixed quality, most people are more authentic some days and less authentic on other days.

Practice courage and compassion

So how can we practice authenticity? By speaking and acting out our mind on a day to day basis. In the process, we will need some courage initially, but we will also learn to be compassionate as we recognize that we aren’t the only people struggling with the same issues. By understanding that everyone has to deal with similar things at some point, it will be easier for us to relating and giving our support to them.

Perfectionism isn’t the same as striving to be your best

The word perfectionism may sound positive but actually, it’s a trap. It is different than striving to be your best version. It is not the same as self-improvement but rather it is a shield to protect from the fear of shame.

Perfectionism, in other words, is the belief that you can live and act perfectly, this is an illusion because nobody can be perfect. The perfectionists’ mind fails to recognize this and instead thinks that she has to do even better regardless of whether that is possible.

Instead of helping to become better, perfectionism can often be paralyzing, as the person might stop acting out on something due to the fear of rejection or failure. The best way to deal with this issue is, to be honest about our shame and remind ourselves to do things for ourselves, not for others.

For example, if you want to exercise, instead of doubting and fearing the reaction of others in the gym or from your social circle in case you don’t get the expected results, just do it for yourself. If you know that something will make you feel better and healthier then that is the only reason you need.

Cultivate resilience and perspective

How many have failed at something? How many for example have failed at pursuing their fitness goals? Often we have not enough resilience to achieve our goals. So what is resilience and how do we get it?

Resilience comes from practicing hope. Hope is contrary to what many believe, based on circumstances outside of our control. Hope can be both learned and practiced. You can practice hope by first defining where you want to go, and then telling yourself that you have what it takes to get there.

Resilience can also be practiced by broadening our perspective. It is easy to be caught up in our own problems without realizing that we are not alone. By broadening our perspective we notice that we are surrounded by people who share our struggle.

Practice gratefulness

Most people think that gratitude is a result of our circumstances. But gratitude can be practiced much like hope. Try to focus on what you already have accomplished and on the opportunities you have still ahead. Also, focus on the little things that make up your life. In time you will become more grateful and happy.

Let go of the need for control and trust your intuition

Many know that suffocating feeling of not knowing what to do. We tend to want to rationalize everything because that is what we learn to do. But often we don’t know how to make the most rational decision. Instead of losing sleep over it we can just trust our intuition.

Intuition can be viewed as a way of reasoning which leaves room for uncertainty when making decisions. This enables you to act with confidence despite not knowing how a situation will play out. By following your intuition you can overcome the fear of risk. Intuition is the perfect tool to persevere through and act on difficult situations.

Don’t compare yourself with others, embrace your own creativity and individuality

It is normal to compare ourselves to other people but is it helpful? Actually often it is not. By comparing and imitating others we are actually ridding ourselves from the very qualities that make us unique and creative.

Instead of comparing yourself, you should embrace your creativity by doing whatever you like to, cooking, writing, producing music or whatever makes you happy. In time you will create unique contributions and become happier.

Be mindful about anxiety

The nervousness and restlessness that come with anxiety can be paralyzing. So what should we do with anxiety? Once again putting things into perspective can help. Instead of trying to get rid of it simply notice and acknowledge your anxiety and you will transform it into something manageable.

Play and rest

You may think that play is a waste of your time. But playing can be a great learning tool and even if it serves no specific purpose you can think of at the time, having fun should be purpose enough.

Play also fosters creativity and empathy and it can bring back excitement and novelty to your job which will, in turn, will spark productivity. Make a habit to go out with your colleagues to embark on some fun activity. It will make you happy and develop stronger connections with your coworkers.

Be OK with being uncool

Being ok with not being cool is part of being authentic. If you allow yourself to engage in genuine fun like wholehearted laughter, singing, and dancing, you lose the need to criticize others and build the foundation for a genuine connection with them.

Key message: Cultivate your courage to be yourself with compassion, and watch the positive results this will have on you 🙂

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Also published on Medium.