Return to the Essentials: The Beauty of Imperfection

On October 3, 2017 by Team EO in RETURN TO THE ESSENTIALS

Return to the Essentials: The Beauty of Imperfection

And now that you don’t have to be perfect you can be good.
– John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that roughly means celebrating the beauty of imperfection. Life, in all its wonder and complexity, is far from perfect. We, too, are messy, imperfect, ever-changing, and often unpredictable.

We have an obsession with perfection in our world today; we seek eternal, unchanging youth in our looks, we attempt to create and follow perfect systems in our work, and we constantly judge ourselves, our lives, and our environments against a standard that exists only in theory. Life is not perfect, and yet we have created a world in which perfection is the paradigm against which we all judge ourselves and others.

When we adopt a perception closer to the idea of wabi-sabi, when we begin to embrace the beauty of change, we find ourselves in a calmer, more engaged state of mind. By seeing beauty in the cracks and missteps, we begin to see life as it truly is – naturally beautiful and filled with constant change.

A simple practice of seeing things as they are is a ritual in acceptance. When we accept things as they are, we find a natural rhythm with life as it is and our lives begin to be in flow.

Relationships are Imperfect

When we hold another person to an unreasonable standard, we ask them to be something they cannot possibly be. This creates an unreasonable number of hours and days spent in conflict, and the relationship suffers from a lack of positive interaction. When we commit to seeing the other person as they are and accepting what we see with tenderness and compassion, each relationship can begin to flourish. More time is given to the interactions we actually want from that relationship, and as a result both people can feel more engaged, seen, and appreciated. Practice seeing each person you interact with today – from your partner to the person checking you out at the counter – as a wonderfully imperfect and present manifestation of a whole life. See what they look like without the burden of expectation, and appreciate the beauty you see.

Our Bodies Are Imperfect

Very much like the burdens we put on each other in relationships, we are all guilty in some form or another of putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Each time you compare your lovely, living belly to the flat, airbrushed supermodel’s torso you create negative thoughts about your body, these compound over time and can lead to an unsettled mind and unnecessary doubts about your natural beauty. Practice seeing yourself as you are, right this moment, with love and acceptance. See the intricate details of your beauty, and appreciate your purely original self.

Our Families and Workplaces Are Imperfect

The heart of our lives is our family, and the bulk of our lives are spent in our workplaces. Both of these hugely important areas of life are practically defined by imperfection. Yet, we still strive for the ‘perfect kids’ and the ‘perfect job’. Practice seeing your family as they are, with all the messy peanut-butter-fingers and can’t-put-the-wash-away selves as they are. See the wonderful, loving people that surround you and define a large part of your meaning in life and celebrate the beauty you see. Practice seeing your workplace for what it is, and celebrate the hilarious and hard working people around you.

Whatever you do with your day, wherever it takes you, practice seeing and accepting all that you encounter as it is. See the beautiful imperfection in all things, and celebrate the beauty all around you.