The acceptance of imperfection: Not being perfect

Often people feel that wellbeing and happiness involve being perfect. However being a well and happy person involves an acknowledgment and acceptance that being “imperfect” is not a sign of damage or weakness but something that adds to the strength and character of our humanity; It’s what makes us who we are and what makes us unique.

Often we try to be perfect, with no flaws or cracks in us. But being perfect is impossible, especially if we are trying to be perfect according to other people’s beliefs and expectations.

When this happens we get caught up in the ideal created by others and our lives become governed by “I must be …. I should be … I ought to …” and so on. This is of course even harder when we realise that to be perfect in an imperfect world is impossible! For no matter how hard we try, age, illness and life experience will take its toll and wear and tear will always occur.

Acceptance of the imperfect can be demonstrated by the Japanese art of Wabi-Sabi, where breakage and repair is seen and accepted as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Kintsugi, a Japanese philosophy related to Wabi-Sabi, emphasises the acceptance of change and circumstance as important aspects of our human experience and wellbeing and not something to hide or be ashamed about. This is shown below with the broken bowl repaired with gold.

In a world that focuses upon looking youthful, perfection and having the newest most up to date gadgets, Kintsugi and Wabi-Sabi can be used as a metaphor to remind us to be compassionate, respectful and caring towards ourselves and others; and that being imperfect, scarred and vulnerable just makes us all the more human.