In Western society, however, there seems to be a need for people to “be the same as everyone else” – to fit in, to be what society deems appropriate or good. These social standards can make it difficult for ANYONE to feel worthy or up-to-snuff. We can easily get sucked down the rabbit hole of thinking that our differences are imperfections – that these imperfections somehow diminish our value.
Having had Vitiligo (an auto-immune disorder that causes loss of the skin’s pigment in oddly shaped spots on my hands and face) since I was about 22, I have spent many, many years of my life being ashamed of this “imperfection.” I have had fears that people would think it was catchy (it’s not), ugly, or weird and, I confess, that this very rare condition has made me self-conscious and feel like a bit of a freak at times.
I remember the day that my perspective was turned around, however. I was working with a client (an 11 year old boy) who said, “I love those decorations on your skin! They are so cool!!” He was completely serious and it almost took my breath away to realize that his perception was so different – so loving and positive. I actually teared up!
It was then that I began to shift my own thoughts on my Vitiligo – and, although I still would prefer to not have it, I am far less bothered by it. After all, it is part of who I am and has given me lots of lessons – including humility, an understanding of autoimmune disorders, a complete overhaul of my eating habits and self-care regimen, as well as healing emotionally and mentally with self-love, self-forgiveness, and self-acceptance.
Some things you can’t change – but you can ALWAYS change your reaction to them!
It has been said that we are each perfect exactly the way we are. That can be a tough statement to swallow for most of us – and in my coaching practice, people come to me wanting change. So, I like to think of it as this: we are all perfectly on our own unique journey and we all have lessons to learn and ways that we can grow and live our very best lives. Sometimes that means working on areas that (mentally, physically, or spiritually) that preventing us from growing. Many times, our "imperfections" can become our greatest gifts and life lessons (i.e. Dyslexia or past trauma that catapults us to heal). Sometimes that means accepting what you can’t change – but changing how you allow those “imperfections” to influence your future.
Your imperfections are part of your being and make you more interesting, special, and unique. It’s time to accept them instead of fighting them. You can’t achieve optimal health and wellness if you’re battling inner issues about who you are.
Loving yourself, including your imperfections, doesn’t mean that you don’t have self-improvement goals. You can always strive to strengthen your good qualities and develop skills and characteristics that you desire while loving the person you are.
Try these techniques to learn to love the imperfections that help make you who you are:
1) First, accept the imperfections. The key to having a fulfilling and happy life is accepting yourself. Once you acknowledge that your imperfections are a unique part of you, you can move on to loving yourself.
- Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes, has scars, or feels inadequate at some point in their lives. Look at the growth you went through as a result and know that you are a stronger person because of them.
- Instead of comparing yourself to someone else, focus on yourself. Notice how you’ve grown, celebrate your accomplishments, and look forward to a bright future with your own goals.
4) Pay attention to what you say to yourself. There is a direct link between self-talk and your health and mental wellness.
- Notice if you use negative self-talk that is humiliating or demoralizing. Does your inner dialogue make you feel inferior, ashamed, or guilty? You don’t want your words to create more pain and suffering!
- If you are using language toward yourself that you wouldn’t say to a young child, then don’t say it to yourself!
- Learn to forgive yourself and be gentler. You can change the words of your inner dialogue to words of love and support. Each time you say something negative, immediately change it to something positive, instead.
5) Remember that your days will vary. You may have days that make you feel amazing and on top of the world. You will also have days that make you feel defeated, sad, and tired. This rollercoaster of life is normal.
- The key is to avoid letting the difficult days affect you long-term. Turn your focus to positive self-talk, solutions, and taking action.
6) Eliminate the toxic people. Toxic people can make it harder for you to accept and love your imperfections. Reduce your contact with those who consistently make you feel bad about yourself. An occasional critique from a loved one or friend is normal. However, constant criticism tends to wear you down.
- Evaluate your relationships and focus on the ones that are healthier for you.
Celebrate your imperfections! They make you the unique person you are. Use these tips to learn to love yourself inside and out. As a result, you’ll boost your self-confidence, increase your charisma, and gain greater peace as you pursue a life you’ll love.