Happy With Imperfection

Although this journey of mine into healing, happiness, and self-realization certainly picked up momentum 3 years ago, it is a journey that actually started about 10 years ago, when I first read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling.  To this very day, I am a big fan of Dr. Dyer and am constantly inspired by the number of lives he has helped transform through his work.

Photo by Scott Snyder

Photo by Scott Snyder

The mistake I made, however, (when I first charted my course for personal and spiritual transformation) is that I wanted to become just like Dr. Dyer . . . or, at least, the way I perceived him to be.  While I was reading Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling, I could envision Dr. Dyer getting up early in the morning and stepping out onto the veranda of his beautiful home on Maui.  I could see him doing a bit of Tai Chi, having a deliciously healthy breakfast with his lovely wife, and then going to the apartment he kept for the purpose of being able to write in peace and privacy.  I could almost feel the warm sun on my own cheek and smell the crisp ocean air.

“Aaaahhhhh, must be nice!,” was my first thought.  My second thought was, “That’s the kind of life I want.  I want to be happy, just like that!”

Well, that was 10 years ago; and I do not yet live on Maui or do Tai Chi or have a beautiful home of my own or the other things I previously thought were necessary to happiness.  But, you know what?  I am happy, and I love Life!  As imperfect as my life might be and as imperfect as I myself still am, I laugh every chance that I get; I love with my whole heart; I solve problems as they arise by dealing with the fact that not everything can be perfect; and I look into the future with excited expectation, not frustrated longing.

That is not to say that I never feel sad or that there is nothing I would change about some of my relationships, my current living arrangements, or myself.  As I continue to heal, learn, and grow, those aspects of my life will change, as my thought patterns and belief systems continue changing.  In the meantime, I try my best to appreciate all the beauty and goodness that Life has to offer and to remember that striving for positive change and waiting for perfection are two very different concepts.

If we spend all of our time trying to make anything and everything, including ourselves, perfect before we begin to really LIVE, all that we end up doing is letting the happiness that is right in front of us pass us by.  What we have to ask ourselves is “How much is enough for my happiness?”  Marcus Aurelius once said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life.”   He was correct.

But to grasp and embrace the wisdom in Marcus Aurelius’s words, we have to first accept that we are enough, in all our imperfection.  When we accept that we are enough, we give ourselves permission to be happy – RIGHT NOW.

Another inspirational and insightful teacher of our time is Brene’ Brown.  I like her.  She  is authentic; and she’s got spunk.  Brene’ Brown is a well-credentialed researcher who came undone but turned the experience into something positive for herself and others.  In the last several years, she has spoken frequently and written several books about how we deal with shame, perfectionism, and other barriers to authentic happiness.  While she addresses topics that a lot of people would just like to ignore, she drives home the very real truth that the only way to be authentically happy is to understand that we are enough, despite our imperfection.

Her talk on The Gifts of Imperfection is an excellent introduction to her work; and I hope you will take a few minutes to watch it.

You may also want to pick up Dr. Dyer’s book, Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling.  It is a wonderful read and truly inspirational.  I may still make it to Maui, one day; and, if I do happen to meet Dr. Dyer, I suspect he would be the first to admit that neither he nor his life are perfect.  He is just perfectly happy with imperfection.

 

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30 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your words on this, I too have had to abandon my preconceived notion of what “peace” looks like. I to strive everyday to appreciate the daily blessings that this existence has to offer.
    Be blessed my friend
    Always
    Benjamin

    Reply
  2. Thank you, Benjamin, for your insightful comments! Your beautiful artwork is one of those “all the beauty Life has to offer” things that I enjoy so much. Thank you for being You and for all that you do to spread peace, joy, and happiness to others.
    Namaste
    Sloan

    Reply
  3. Love this post, Sloan. I have always felt we are happier when we accept what we have now, not want we want to have in the future. Your thoughts also remind me of a book that I frequently recommend to patients, “Happy for No Reason” by Marci Shimoff. She writes:

    “One evening a Cherokee elder told his grandson about the battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between the two ‘wolves’ that live inside us all. One is unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, self-pity, resentment, and inferiority. The other is Happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth, and compassion.’

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘which wolf wins?’

    The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’” — P.107

    Reply
    • Danniece, thank you for reading and sharing such a wonderful comment! I’ve seen several versions of the fable you shared and enjoy it every time.

      Also, thanks again for the wonderful guest post, “Stress Management 101.” I believe it is reaching and helping a lot of readers.
      Have a beautifully blessed weekend! Sloan

      Reply
  4. Love this post and the video. Thanks for sharing it. The one thing I never had a problem with was saying “no.” The problem that did arise, however, was guilt for saying ‘no.’ The guilt was what I needed to learn to release. Sometimes still do.

    Like in the poem I posted yesterday, I need to make the time to find that place in me that reminds me … I am the child in whom God is well pleased … even in my imperfections.

    Thanks for the inspirational post.

    Reply
    • Very well said, Lori! That’s the thing about being human, we often forget those things we already know in our hearts to be true. The truth that God loves us, forgives us, and wants to experience Divine Companionship with us, notwithstanding our imperfections, is one of those truths. Blessings, love & light to you, my friend; today and every day. S

      Reply
  5. Professions for PEACE

     /  January 12, 2013

    What a wonderful and inspiring post! How important it is for us all to be at peace with ourselves, right here, right now. To be ‘perfectly happy with imperfection’. I’ve heard many teachers share that if we were perfect, we wouldn’t be here, because this is our classroom for learning along the journey 🙂 You know I’m a huge fan of Wayne Dyer as well, but thank you for introducing me to Brene’ Brown! We all have important things to teach, and learn, and there can never be too many teachers (or students)… and as Dr Dyer once said, ‘We can never hear the Eternal Truths too often”. Thanks again for this amazing post Sloan. With Love and Light to you, Gina

    Reply
    • Thank you for your excellent comments, Gina!

      The Dr. Dyer quote you shared is definitely on point with what experience has taught me. We need to be reminded of what we may already know, from time to time; and, often, we find something new in a familiar Truth because of the way we are reminded of it.

      As I say on the Welcome! Page, “There is, indeed, nothing new under the sun. But there are different ways of telling it.” Everyone who shares a part of themselves in the telling adds something special to the principle, insight, or lesson.

      I believe you’ll enjoy Brene Brown’s work. She is an exceptional story teller.
      Thanks again for stopping by today; and enjoy the rest of your weekend, you beautiful soul! Love & Light, Sloan

      Reply
  6. Great post Sloan! I enjoy Dr. Dyer as well and have many of his books, and DVD’s. It is funny you mention he lives in Maui because as I may have mentioned in one of my posts; my husband and I ran into him on the beach while visiting Maui several years ago. He was very kind and on his way to a daily swim in the ocean. There are so many wonderful teachers out there as you mention, which I too am grateful for. I always appreciate your honesty and humility. Thanks for sharing such wisdom. Blessings, Cathie

    Reply
    • Cathie, thank you (as always) for your kind and supportive words. How wonderful that you and your husband got to enjoy Maui AND meet one of your mentors! I can only imagine what a beautiful experience it must have been. As I know you know, there are no coincidences; and the experience of meeting Dr. Dyer undoubtedly contributed to the meaningful and inspiring work you now find yourself engaged in. The web of Life is, indeed, majestic. And when we take time to observe the tie that binds us each to one another manifesting such incredible experiences into our lives. . . [sigh] . . . it is simply Divine.
      Thanks for sharing another wonderful piece of You with Us. Blessings, Love, & Light, Sloan

      Reply
  7. “If we spend all of our time trying to make anything and everything, including ourselves, perfect before we begin to really LIVE, all that we end up doing is letting the happiness that is right in front of us pass us by.” This is so powerful and true!

    Reply
    • Thank you, very much! I appreciate your reading and commenting! Hope to see you back soon! Many Blessings, S

      Reply
  8. The key is to love yourself where you are and love yourself enough to continue to expand. Loving what is. It is challenging because we are taught to strive harder, push through pain, ignore our intuition and charge forward. Your words are encouraging and loving both towards yourself and others. Keep sharing your insights for they are worthy.

    Reply
    • Thank you, so much, Sherry! I agree with your insightful comments and appreciate your kind words. Many blessings to you and all you do! S

      Reply
  9. Nadine

     /  January 20, 2013

    Hmmm, looks like this post was written for me. I’ve never been happy with my imperfections. That’s something I need to learn now.
    I think I’ve watched a TEDX video by Brene Brown and was moved by her presentation. I’ll check out the one you posted. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Nadine,

      I’m glad you liked the post! In my own life, I have learned to choose and accept happiness (despite imperfection) by remembering that humanity is all about impermanence. Everything is subject to change (in one form or another), including imperfection. Circumstances change, as we change. We change, as we learn, grow, heal, and make different choices about the thoughts we allow to take root and flourish in our minds. If there is something that simply cannot be changed, we can always change the way we look at it. When we change the way we look at an imperfection, we change the imperfection itself into something we can be perfectly happy with.

      For example, I am 6’0 tall; and, for most of my life, I viewed that as an imperfection. The fact that I am “unusually” tall for a woman is something that others have pointed out to me since I was a teenager; and, sometimes, they pointed it out in very mean ways. “Big on’,” “Amazon,” and “Big Girl,” are just a few of the names I have been called. Of course, there were many people who complimented me on my height and suggested that I looked “like a model.” But, as is human nature, I found it much easier to hold on to the disparaging comments than the compliments. I always carried myself well, paying particular attention to my posture. So, on the outside, I appeared what might be referred to as “statuesque.” But, on the inside, I was very ashamed of my height — of my imperfection.

      One evening, about 7 years ago, I was attending a meeting of a small group of people, most of whom I did not know. I ran late and, when I walked in late, all eyes turned to the door — to me. I smiled, apologized, and took my seat as quickly as I could. Later, we were asked to go around and introduce ourselves. My turn arrived; and, before I could speak, one of the ladies said, “That’s the beautiful Roman Goddess that came in late!” Everyone chuckled in agreement.

      Of course, I was a little embarrassed by the attention. But her words, “beautiful Roman Goddess,” stuck with me. It gave me a whole new way of looking at my overall appearance, including my height (being tall made me look “Roman”). While I believe I have avoided embracing any form of improper vanity associated with that particular description, it changed the way I viewed my height; and the confidence it gave me about what I previously viewed as a shameful imperfection changed a part of me. I no longer view my height as an imperfection at all. In fact, I’m quite proud of it.

      The point of this rather long reply, Nadine, is that what we see as an imperfection, in ourselves or in our lives, today may very well not even exist for us tomorrow. So, why let any imperfection stand in the way of our happiness?

      You are a beautiful soul, with a beautiful smile, doing beautiful work! You’ve definitely got plenty to be happy about! Many blessings, love, & light, my friend!
      Namaste
      Sloan

      Reply
      • Nadine

         /  January 24, 2013

        Oh, I don’t mind the length. It was worth it! 🙂

        Thank you for sharing your own experience. Your response is very encouraging and helpful. I’ve decided to adjust my perspective of those things that I’ve allowed to steal my joy over the years, one day and one step at a time. After all, I didn’t get where I am overnight. 🙂 You’re right, too. I have much to be happy about. I appreciate you setting me straight.

        Namaste,

        Nadine

      • Namaste, Nadine. 🙂

  10. Yes, perfection can rob us of SO many joys…as a perfectionist myself…sigh…I can so relate. Thanks for sharing these thought provoking words. BTW…love that you reblog my post this weekend.

    Reply
    • It was my pleasure! Thank you for reading and for your insightful comment! Blessings, Love, & Light, Sloan

      Reply
  11. Marvelous post.

    Reply
  12. I am happy in my human imperfections! I love your story of being tall and learning to love it. My husband is 6′ 7″ and he too had similar feelings about being tall. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. :~) Also thank you for stopping by my blog Affirmation, Gratitude and DNA.

    Reply
    • Thank you, so very much, for your kind comments! Maybe your husband is “Roman” too! 🙂 Have a beautifully blessed and fabulous day! S

      Reply
  13. Loving your insights on loving imperfections. Look forward to reading more.

    Reply
    • Thank YOU for reading and commenting! Hope to see you back soon! Have a Really Great Weekend!
      Blessings, Love, & Light, S

      Reply
  14. How in the world did I miss this great post! These are awesome, relatable insights, thanks! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Lovely, insightful words, Sloan. Thanks so much. Blessings, Sally

    Reply

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