The Gifts of Imperfection
When I sit down to write my Personal Note for the week, I think about what has happened in my life over the past 7 days, what has affected me the most, what has made me the happiest, what I learned, or what was the most interesting thing that happened that week. Something just has to jump out at me for me to feel inspired to write about it. This week Owen and Ella were here (our 5- and 3-year old grandson and granddaughter), and we had some pretty comical conversations. There was a huge buck about 5 feet from my office window this morning, just staring at me. His antlers were quite large and rather scary looking up close. Our new bathroom vanity is finally being delivered today, and the tile in the new shower is being grouted as I type this.
But the thing that I was most profoundly affected by this week is a book I am reading: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.
“When our embarrassments and fears lie, we often listen to them anyway. They thwart our gratitude, acceptance, and compassion—our goodness. They insist, “I am not worthy.” But we are worthy—of self-discovery, personal growth, and boundless love.”
I share this because we all have our “things” we struggle with. I struggle with the thought of “not being good enough,” and in the quest to be good enough try to be “perfect.”
I resonate with so much of what Brene Brown wrote in her book. For example:
“I always put off writing (insert “designing” here!) by reorganizing my entire house and spending way too much time and money buying office supplies and organizing systems. Every single time.”
When I read that, I knew she “got” me, and I was going to learn something from her.
I have learned a lot but what really impacted me the most was the thought that the characteristics we develop because of our imperfections can really become our strengths.
“Courage, compassion, and connection seem like big, lofty ideals. But in reality, they are daily practices that, when exercised enough become these incredible gifts in our lives. And the good news is that our vulnerabilities are what force us to call upon these amazing tools. In this way, courage, compassion, and connection become gifts – the gifts of imperfection.”
No matter what imperfections I have, and there are many, my coping mechanisms for each of those imperfections are really some of my best strengths. I just hadn’t thought of those strengths as “gifts” before. This put my imperfections in an entirely new light and they become things I am grateful for.
I hope these thoughts give you a new perspective on any struggles with which you are dealing. And if not, then let’s just laugh together.
When Ella was here this week she found a party blower in my craft room. It was broken, but she didn’t know that. She blew and blew but the blower didn’t make a noise or unfurl as she expected it to. “Grandma,” she said, ” This isn’t working. I think it needs to be recharged.” 🙂
As I was driving the kids home, Owen, was sitting in the back seat and it was hard for me to hear him or for him to hear me as we bumped over a road that could really use a resurfacing. He said to me, “Grandma, I don’t know what’s wrong, but my head hurts.” I asked if he had a headache, and he said no and pointed to where he felt the pain. He had a scab on his forehead about the size of a nickel. I told him that his scab was probably dry and itchy and when we got to his house I could put some Neosporin on it and that would help. I asked if he knew what that was, and he said no. I told him it was “like Vaseline.” He got a horrified look on his face and said, “YOU’RE GOING TO PUT GASOLINE ON MY FACE?”
There are plenty more stories, but I’ll save them for another day. Today I hope that you smiled when you read this post, but more importantly that you walk away with the thought that your imperfections can be looked upon with kindness because they really are what have made you strong.
Great insight here Karen. Thank you for sharing. And…. being a dog person myself, I get where you’re coming from but I must say that I think you nailed it with your “I Love My Cat” kit. Just lovely.
Thank you, Paula. I appreciate your thoughts.
This is sooo beautiful! I love what you wrote about Ella and Owen. They are so precious. I too, as we all probably do, struggle with perfection. When my kids get down on them selves I remind them that extremely beautiful model looking women have the same insecurities that we have. I love the phrase Mary Kay made up “Fake it till you make it”. I tell this to Danny if he is struggling at school. Fake being brave and you will end up being brave! I can easily give advice, but rarely take my own.
Oh, way, way easier to give advice than to take your own. 😉
Oh Karen, thank you ==I am after this book right now!
Please let me know what you think of it.
Karen, as I read the newsletter and this post I have found myself knowing that I am going to have to invest in the dog and cat kits! I grew up with dogs in the household but no cats and wasn’t actually allowed to have one as my dad wasn’t a cat lover at all! Only time a cat was allowed was in the summer between my junior and senior year of high school and that was because the cat (black cat named Midnight, Middy for short) was there before my dad retired from the Army and returned home. Since then I have always had cats and no dogs! I have wanted a dog for quite a while now but when both my husband and I worked it just didn’t seem feasible since dogs require more work and time that neither of us could provide. I’m now a widow and retired but still without a dog, but seriously considering one, it just has to be the ‘right’ one since I still have cats and one of them is not particularly fond of dogs or people he doesn’t know! The kits are just to cute to pass up though! Love them!