By Ellen and Dana Borowka
So many times we don’t allow ourselves to be imperfect. We hold ourselves up to impossible standards, then criticize ourselves for not meeting those standards. We graciously accept for others the same flaws we berate ourselves for. So, how do we challenge this issue? Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs had an idea that he called “the courage to be imperfect”. When you have the courage to be imperfect, you can begin to let go of the past and focus on your talents today.
♦ Constantly encourage yourself through positive self-talk, and don’t expect perfection. Positive self-talk is giving yourself encouragement rather than discouragement or criticism. Some examples could be, “I know I can do this”; “I am capable and effective in my work”; “I believe in myself”; and “I like who I am”.
♦ Monitor discouraging self-talk that may begin with absolutes like, I must, I should, I have to or I always and I never. These place judgment and are often unrealistic expectations.
♦ Challenge discouraging thoughts by asking yourself questions like, “Is this realistic and reasonable?”; “Why am I thinking this way about myself?”; and “What is really true about myself?”
♦ See mistakes as part of the learning process, not failures since everyone makes mistakes.
♦ Strive to express your talents and qualities fully, rather than to be better than others.
♦ Do what you can, and say no when you need to.
♦ Accept and value your efforts and yourself.
♦ View tough situations as challenges, rather than problems to overcome.
♦ Explore and love your imperfections as well as your strengths and good qualities.
I discovered a wonderful story that I think says it all:
“A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He tried every method he knew to get rid of them. Still they plagued him. Finally, he wrote to the Department of Agriculture. He enumerated all the things he had tried and closed his letter with the question: “What shall I do now?” In due course, the reply came: “We suggest you learn to love them.”
– Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird
Like the dandelions, we need to learn how to love ourselves with our imperfections, and not let the flaws take importance and attention away from our strengths. After all, perfection is all relative and is based on a perception of what we behold as being “perfect”. When you find yourself striving towards that model of perfection you may want to ask yourself several questions like , “Why am I holding out this model as being better than my current “self”?; What are the underlying reasons for wanting to change?; and “What small steps can I make in order to revise this goal to be more realistic?”.
Remember, life is filled with opportunities for learning and growing. The first step is to appreciate yourself right here and now with all your “imperfections”. The more you explore and challenge negative beliefs, the stronger you will feel. Then your courage will grow, and you’ll find that it’s ok to be imperfect.
For a long time it had seemed to me
that life was about to begin – – real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way.
Something to be got through first,
some unfinished business;
time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
Then life would begin.
At last it dawned on me that
these obstacles were my life.
Bette Howland: Life in the Snake Pit, 7/90
This article contains some modified concepts from the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting Program, developed by Don Dinkmeyer, Sr., Gary D. McKay and Don Dinkmeyer, Jr.
Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.
Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.
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Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.