Embracing Imperfection

Sometimes the hardest part of spiritual growth is overcoming the expectation that my problems will disappear once I’m “good” enough.

I often assume that I must fix myself: I am acting too disorganized, emotional, insecure, stressed. Then, I seek answers. (Enter this blog, spiritual efforts, and personal growth.) During the process of searching, I uncover some epiphany: perhaps a lesson or a quote that awakens me a little. Maybe I learn that I’ve been too self-absorbed, or that I haven’t been living in the present. Maybe this time, if I really let go in meditation, or maintain the right frame of mind, or if I stop straying from my chosen spiritual path, essentially if I do it right, then I will reach some plateau of infinite fearlessness, calm, confidence, ambition…all my issues will disappear, and I will become effortlessly loving and accepting toward all humankind.

One important piece of wisdom I’ve recently uncovered is this: a lot of my life has consisted of my searching for something I’ve thought to be missing inside myself. While perhaps my goal is to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing missing. I am a process, a work in progress, and I always will be. There is no perfection, only the beautiful acceptance of imperfection.

Goal: to embrace the natural incompleteness of existence!

When I think about it, perfection is one of the most unrealistic expectations anyone could put upon themselves. I’m learning that life is usually an uphill battle. We don’t work hard all our lives just to get to a stopping point, where we can sit and bask forevermore. The turmoil is what shapes us. You will always make mistakes. Sometimes, you will be unreasonable. Angry. Confused. Hurt. You’ll hurt others. You’ll hate people, or even yourself. But over time, we learn and gradually see through our shallow shields of defense. They will slowly subside.

But one quick-fix solution is highly unlikely.

And yet, I keep assuming that if I can find that one thing to change my perspective, then I will be cured of the human experience? No. The principles I uncover in my spiritual path help me gradually, but not immediately. Not at once. And that’s okay.

There are only a few principles I can cling to, which I know will never fail: choosing love over fear, hope over despair, and letting go over a false sense of control.

Maybe the most I, or anyone, can do is to accept our beautifully flawed selves the way we are but to never give up trying to become better.



  1. Brian McEuen said,

    August 19, 2009 at 1:04 am

    yeah… this resonates quite a bit. I feel like I’m always trying to figure out “what’s wrong, what’s the matter…” But isn’t it as much a task to be OK with the incomplete flawed self? What’s the trick to getting to that point?

    • michellegm15 said,

      August 19, 2009 at 2:50 am

      So far, all I know to do is to repetitively get used to self-acceptance. This sounds cheesy, but to tell oneself, “Yeah, I’m (bitchy/afraid/emotional/insertadjective) sometimes. But that’s honestly okay. I do a lot of other things right.”

      I agree that it’s a huge task that takes a lot of time. But I only know (so far) to accept and to stop the negative chatter inside one’s head. I heard some quote once, referring to cleaning out a room, that if it’s not beautiful or useful, then throw it out. The same applies to thoughts.

      I found a quote today: “Accept yourself as you are right now: an imperfect, changing, growing and worthy person.” -Dennis Waitley

  2. brian mceuen said,

    December 16, 2009 at 8:31 am

    you need to post more of these!!! you know it’s true!!!

    many hearts

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