The Beauty of Imperfection

I admit it. I am a perfectionist. I want everything to be right, and everything to be in its right place. So, yesterday when a manager told me that I had done my job wrong, I felt really bad about myself. Granted, it wasn’t that manager’s fault, and they were really nice about it, but it was that I was so focused on making everything just right, I had almost missed learning from my mistakes and looking at the positive aspects of being human.  Yes, I believe there is a time for utopia, but not in this life! Yes, I believe we should always try our best, and strive for excellence. However, even so, we will make mistakes! I believe there is still beauty in that. Here’s why:

1.) Mistakes give us motivation to constantly learn about things and improve ourselves.–This is why we go to school and/or strive to have jobs.  This is also why even if we aren’t in school or have a job, we can still learn things by reading books and communicating with others. If we were already perfect, we wouldn’t need to learn anything!  Also, if we already knew everything, why should we want to learn anything more or grow?  However, since we do make mistakes constantly, we can have the motivation we need to do better because it is human nature to want to correct that which isn’t right in our lives, whether morally or pragmatically. For instance, if I made a mistake in straightening items at work, which I sometimes do, I could make sure the items are straightened in the right places next time and really neater than before.  If I never made any mistakes, I wouldn’t have much motivation to improve at my job.  I would probably just do my job mechanically, like a machine, and wouldn’t find much joy in that.  Morally, if I sinned (i.e. made a moral mistake) by slandering someone I don’t like (just an example, I rarely if ever do this to people), and this person found out, got really upset, and severed ties with me, this would give me the motivation and the wake-up call I need to be kinder in the way I approach people and in what I say to and about others.

2.)Making mistakes give us a glimpse of God’s and other people’s grace and mercy towards us.–When we make an honest mistake, we are usually met with some grace and mercy. For instance, when I had done my job badly yesterday, although I was really harsh and unforgiving towards myself, the manager that confronted me treated me with patience, grace, and compassion.  If I had never made the mistakes I did at my job yesterday, I would never have seen my manager’s grace and patience towards me. Also, when I sin against people and against God, as long as I admit that I made a mistake, am willing to own up to it, and make the proper amends, God and people are 95% of the time very gracious and forgiving towards me.  If I never sinned and if I was perfect in every way, never making a single mistake, I would probably never see either God’s or other people’s mercy extended towards me for my wrongdoings.  In seeing grace and/or mercy extended towards ourselves, we are probably more likely to extend it towards others as well.  We can thus relate better to our fellow humans better.

3.) Mistakes teach us how to humble ourselves.–When we make a mistake, we have basically two choices when we are confronted with them by someone else. a.) Be defensive, deny wrongdoing, and/or make excuses for our mistakes. OR b.) admit our mistakes and correct and better them the next time.  I hope I choose b) more often than not, because admitting and learning from our mistakes, is the pathway to humility. Humility is very important for many reasons I won’t get deep into right now since I already had discussed that in a previous post. However, one reason humility is important is that it teaches you to be genuine–to be who you really are inside, warts and all.  Mistakes confront you with the choice to be genuine by exposing a part of you that makes you human–being flawed!  You can try to hide it (be fake) or be open and honest about it (being genuine).  I believe mistakes–moral and otherwise–are tools that are used in your lives to teach us not to be too arrogant or closed-minded towards people or things.

This is why mistakes can be very beneficial in our lives. Since I am a perfectionist, in this post, I am also writing to myself, as much as I am to you, the readers.  Mistakes, besides being a part of learning, also helps us experience mercy and grace, and teaches us how to humble ourselves. So, don’t worry if you make an honest mistake. Just try to learn from it, and do better next time. You may find that is the beauty of imperfection!

What have mistakes taught you?  Please feel free to comment.

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14 thoughts on “The Beauty of Imperfection

  1. I’m butchering this quote a bit, but they say Thomas Edison failed thousands of times when inventing the light bulb and when asked about it. He said he didn’t fail, but learned thousands of ways to NOT make a light bulb! Mistakes are a part of life and they teach us how to grow and get better! As long as you don’t let them get you down, but rise above your mistakes!

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  2. This is such a great post and I can relate in every aspect. I am very perfectionist too, everything has to be in place and ordered. Mistakes definitely make you humble, more mature and even helps you to improve personally.

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  3. Everyone has different beliefs but I do agree that as humans, we make mistakes and it is okay to make mistakes. However, if we strive to learn and improve ourselves from the mistakes that we’ve made, then that is even better. Thank you for sharing your insight on this matter.

    xo Tina
    IG: @tinasweetheart
    http://www.tinasweetheart.com

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  4. What a refreshing perspective! I agree mistakes do help us grow as people. One of my favorite things to say, sort of on topic, is that I always try not to have regrets. I think they’re similar to mistakes, in that regard. It’s all about your frame of mind!

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  5. I totally agree about the value of mistakes – I have learned more from mine than from my successes! One thing I am quick to do is that I am fast to admit if I made a mistake. I think this is important so people will know you acknowledge you are not perfect.

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  6. I completely agree that humans naturally make mistakes, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about them! Great post, I resonate with it all.

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  7. One of the people I’ve worked for always approached mistakes with “Okay. You messed up. How are you going to fix it? Go do it now.” Then as the person ran off to fix the mistake, he’d laugh and say “they won’t screw that up again.” And most of the time they didn’t, because the scare of catching the mistake fixed that thing in thier mind. Everyone makes mistakes; you’ve got to forgive yourself the little ones as easily as you’d forgive them in someone else.

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