Remember that scene in Mean Girls where the Plastics look at themselves in the mirror and criticize every little “flaw”?
“My pores are huge.”
“My hairline is weird.”
“I have really bad breath in the morning.”
It’s something many of us do. And the (unfortunate) truth of the matter is, in today’s world, it’s way, way, way too easy to get caught up in the pursuit of perfection.
But the question is, does it make you any happier? Would it be so bad to embrace your flaws?
“I believe that in our contemporary world, our obsession with perfectionism is exactly the thing that leads us to the dark side,” says Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, co-founder of Mindvalley and author of Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life. “Because anything that doesn’t correspond to the picture of the best version of ‘me’ is so hard to face.”
To face the realities of what you hope to be in your head versus who you actually are is really hard. But your flaws (or “dragons,” as Kristina likes to call them), hands down, are what make you unique and interesting. Embracing them can lead you to far more moments of happiness than seeking perfection ever could.
Why Should You Embrace Your Flaws?
Let’s get one thing straight: flaws are beautiful. And we all have our quirks, unique features, and our own special brand of weirdness, and that’s what makes us humans.
“Embrace your flaws” essentially means to accept you—all the good along with all the “bad.” And it takes a certain level of self-awareness to do so. But when you do, several things happen:
- You’re kinder to yourself,
- You feel good about yourself, and
- Your insecurities aren’t much of an issue anymore.
- You find the courage to actually challenge yourself since your self-worth is not tied to you being perfect.
Even research agrees. The results of a 2012 study show that those who can accept that they’re perfectly imperfect have higher self-esteem and love their lives more than those who put perfection as a priority.
Your relationship with the world is a reflection of your relationship with yourself.— Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, co-founder of Mindvalley and author of Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life
When you own your truth, you’ll have the fortitude to show that to those around you. It’s one of the greatest acts of self-love out there.
After all, who wants to be a boring, flawless robot?
Why We Struggle to Embrace Our Flaws
The rise of filters and photo editing apps makes it that much easier to hide behind a pretty picture. But that only covers the external. There are also character and personality imperfections to consider.
Why is it so hard to just accept our flaws and imperfections as we do the things we like? A fantastic question, so let’s take a closer look at some common reasons why:
- Society’s pressure to be perfect. Humans, according to Kristina, “strive to be more of what we think is the perfect version of ourselves.” It’s what she calls “The Hermoine Syndrome,” which is when we fixate on the idea of being the best instead of just being.
- Fear of judgment or rejection. We have this want to want to fit in; it’s just human nature. But the fear of not being liked or loved can put a damper on being our true selves. We may end up trying too hard or even not at all.
- Lack of self-awareness. We’re just not aware (or, at least, not been taught to be). But to come out of the depths of self-absorption, being aware of who we are and what we’re made of is important.
The reality is, embracing your flaws can be hard. It’s asking you to face all the things you’ve pushed aside for years and accept them like second nature.
It’ll take guts, grit, and self-compassion. But when you learn to embrace, you’ll see that you’re Khaleesi, and the dragons are a part of who you are. (That’s a Game of Thrones reference for those who don’t know.)
How to Embrace Your Flaws: 5 Tips From Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani
Perfection is merely a scapegoat for “I don’t want to deal with what I want but don’t have.” But it’s a fact: No one is perfect. Not even—gasp!—Khaleesi herself.
So why do we beat ourselves up over our imperfections? Why do we hold ourselves to such high standards? How do you embrace your imperfections?
It’ll take a little more than a “love your flaws” pep talk, of course. And Kristina’s book, Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life, has just the tips that will get you to start feeling more comfortable in your skin.
1. Find out what makes you happy
“Happiness doesn’t need perfection,” Kristina explains. “In fact, perfectionism is a killer of happiness because it comes with conditions and rules.”
So, for you to truly step into your greatness, consider ditching perfection and taking some time to reflect on what it is that brings you joy.
Is it snuggling with your pet? Is it dancing to ‘90s hip-hop? Or maybe something more toned down, like a loving-kindness meditation?
It’s important to remember that life is a beautiful blend of the good and the bad. So happiness is not a 24/7 thing; rather, it’s moments of genuine joy and contentment that get you from one day to the next.
Tip from Becoming Flawesome: “The world doesn’t need your perfection. Neither does it need your sacrifice of personal well-being.
What it needs is for you to be genuinely happy and at peace. It is important because it is when you are happy and at peace with yourself that you can offer the world the best of you.”
2. Let go of control
You know that feeling when you’re trying to keep everything under control, from your job to your relationships to your dog’s bowel movements, and you end up feeling like a hot mess express?
Yeah, let that (excuse the French) sh*t go.
Instead of trying to micromanage every little thing, accept the fact that life is messy and unpredictable. And recognize that some things are beyond your control; instead, focus on what you can do.
Tip from Becoming Flawesome: “Letting go is a hard skill, especially for perfectionists with Hermione’s Syndrome (like me), because we like to be in control, we like to take charge, and oh boy, do we take charge! We do this seamlessly, especially when something is important to us.
But what many of us Hermiones do not realize is that the more important the task, the more we take charge, and the more we tense, the more we remove ourselves from mastery and true genius.”
3. Learn to accept yourself fully
Let’s face it: We’re surrounded by messages that tell us we’re not enough. From social media to advertisements to commercials, we’re constantly bombarded with the idea that we need to be someone else in order to be happy.
The thing is, we’re perfect (irony, right?) the way we are.
And to be truly authentic, you’ve got to get messy and learn how to accept yourself fully, flaws and all. Because when you stop putting yourself down and start appreciating your uniqueness, you’ll allow yourself to shine in a way that no one else can.
Tip from Becoming Flawesome: “If you feel shame for wanting to be happy, then you, naturally, project the same attitude on the rest of the world—of course, others will shame you for being selfish and wanting to be happy.
But if you are convinced that your happiness is important and valuable, then you will not budge just because a few people may misunderstand your intentions.”
4. Fix you, not others
It’s so much easier to point out other people’s flaws than to face our own. But the thing is, no one likes a Karen (or whatever poor girl’s name is thrown into the deep end). And people will only change when they’re willing and ready.
So instead of focusing your energy on others, turn it around and work on your own. Lead by example, as they say. And when you’re honest with yourself, you may just find that you actually love your flaws.
Tip from Becoming Flawesome: “You have to be the brave one to make the change within you first and thus, inspire others to follow.”
5. Embody your flawesomeness
So what’s this “becoming flawesome” thing Kristina’s going on about? Other than it being a play-on word combining “flaws” with “awesome,” its meaning is as it sounds: celebrating the awesomeness of your flaws.
“It is about being imperfect, being flawed, and yet realizing your own value despite your imperfections,” she explains. “In fact, not even despite the imperfections, but precisely because of them.”
It’s time to stop self-criticism and just be kind to yourself.
You’re not perfect, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay; it’s—cue the corniness—flawesome.
Tip from Becoming Flawesome: “You need to get to know yourself fully. You need to look at yourself without filters and edits, as if you were looking into a crystal clear mirror, seeing yourself with all your blemishes. And then, you learn to love yourself the way you are.”
Flawesome Is the New Awesome
There’s something liberating and empowering about loving your flaws. It’s like when Cady Heron of Mean Girls breaks the plastic crown into pieces at Spring Fling and shares it with others. Because she came to terms with who she really is, she was able to be who she really is.
It is your flaws, your dents, and scratches, the Dragons hidden in the dungeons of your castle behind a perfect façade, that make you who you are. And so, whatever value you have to give to the world, you wouldn’t have it without them.— Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, co-founder of Mindvalley and author of Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life
Kristina’s book, Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life, has the kind of valuable insights to show you how to fully accept and love yourself.
Will it push your boundaries? Yes. But will it be worth it? Heck yes.
So in the name of being flawesome, it’s time to break your own plastic crown and share your authentic self with the world.