'I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions'
- Augusten Burroughs
Like every young teen, I went through many awkward stages and spent way too much time concerned about the things I didn't like about myself. All I could think about were these flaws, both real and imagined, that I started to define myself by. A mix of comparing myself to others and a realisation that I was not, to my dismay, the walking definition of perfection, meant that I spent more time than necessary focused on the bad rather than being happy with the good. I wanted to smooth down the rough edges as I feared the day that someone would seriously call me out on my quietness or start a sentence with 'you know what, you’re not very...' Or 'sometimes you can be a bit too...' Wanting to work on your flaws is perfectly fine for the purpose of personal growth. But I was starting to define myself by them, wanting to be flawless in the eyes of others and was quick to disregard my own opinions. In my haste to become something I thought I should be, I overlooked three very important things.
Firstly, Everyone has flaws. Every single person you interact with or admire is flawed in more ways than one. So having flaws doesn't mean that you're the odd one out, it simply means that you're just like everyone else. I don't know if that brings you comfort or not but it's a fact. For everything you admire about someone else, there's a whole list of flaws and past mistakes they battle with, same as you.
Secondly, accepting and working on your flaws doesn't happen overnight. This one took a while for me to understand and I spent many years trying to understand why I couldn't just shake off my shyness overnight. It takes time to either fully accept something about yourself and be content with it or to work on it to the point where it’s no longer an issue. Only you can fully determine whether or not your flaws need to be worked on or accepted and only you can do this. Others can offer advice or comforting words, of course, but true change or acceptance comes only from our thoughts and actions.
Thirdly, YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY YOUR FLAWS! Yes you may have to work on them and yes you may have to just come to terms with them, but they don't sum up who you are as a person. I mean firstly, people are complex. We can be good and bad and flawed and perfect all at the same time. Defining yourself and what you can offer the world simply by your flaws diminishes your worth and doesn't offer much else. So for every flaw you identify, pick out a non-flaw; a personality trait that you're proud of or a part of your physical appearance that makes you think 'hot daaaamn.' This balances out the scale and stops you from putting all your focus on the negatives.
What lessons have you learnt about accepting your flaws?