Embrace Your Imperfections and Thrive

Embrace your Imperfections and Thrive #imperfections #thrive #perfectionist

Embrace your Imperfections and Thrive

by Sharon Martin, LCSW

Does it sound counter-intuitive to embrace your imperfections and thrive at the same time? I think embracing your imperfections is actually key to thriving. One of my all time favorite quotes from Carl Rogers speaks to this idea: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

carl rogers quote www.sharonmartincounseling.com

We all have imperfections and flaws. Our attempts to be perfect, hide our true selves. Perfectionism is like a shield. And like all shields, perfectionism keeps people at arms length; keeps us separate and disconnected. So, you may still be wondering how to embrace your imperfections and thrive. I’m talking about letting go of unrealistic expectations. Letting go of perfectionism. And changing your inner dialogue so you aren’t your own worst critic.

Embracing your imperfections and mistakes will help you:

  • Build relationships
  • Feel connected to others
  • Love and accept yourself
  • Grow into the person you want to be

Most of us strive to continuously improve ourselves. In order to do that we need to accept where we are right now. If I require perfection from myself or others, there isn’t room for growth. There is only room for criticism when I am let down myself or others. This sets up a dynamic focused on failure rather than growth.

Growth oriented people:

  • Learn from mistakes
  • Don’t “beat themselves up” when they make mistakes
  • Take risks
  • Stay true to themselves
  • Accept that not everyone will like them
  • Acknowledge their own strengths and weaknesses
  • Invest in their own learning (reading, consultation, training)
  • Invest in their own self-care (exercise, friends, hobbies, therapy, health care)

So, where do you start?:

  • Practice self-compassion – Talk to yourself as you’d talk to a valued friend.
  • Practice self-forgiveness – Actually say the words or write them down: “I forgive myself for _______. “
  • Practice positive self-talk – Routinely say things to yourself like: “I don’t have to be perfect.
  • Watch this fantastic Ted Talk – Kathryn Schulz On Being Wrong



If you struggle with self-criticism and perfectionism, and you are or (want to be) a growth oriented person, I invite you to sign up for my Grow Happiness Newsletter in the side bar of the blog. Please join me for more on these topics.

Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in Northern California, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in CA where she is available for online counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and write the blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today.

One Comment

  1. Great post! I couldn’t agree more. We all tend to focus on what we are lacking instead of what we thrive in. We then see imperfections as a “bad thing” and try to focus our efforts on “fixing them”.

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