The Beauty of Imperfection: Why Embracing Flaws is Better than Being “Better Than” Others

Perfectionism has long been touted as a desirable trait, associated with success and achievement. However, there is a growing movement that challenges this notion, arguing that the pursuit of perfection can actually be harmful. This movement advocates for embracing imperfection, recognizing that flaws and mistakes are an inevitable part of being human. In this article, we will explore the idea of the beauty of imperfection, why it’s important to embrace our flaws, and how doing so can lead to greater fulfillment and happiness.

The Myth of Perfection

Perfectionism is often seen as a positive trait, associated with high standards and excellence. However, the pursuit of perfection can be harmful, leading to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and burnout. Perfectionists often judge themselves harshly, and may struggle to accept anything less than perfection.

The problem with the pursuit of perfection is that it is unattainable. No one is perfect, and expecting ourselves to be flawless is setting ourselves up for failure. Perfectionism can also lead to a narrow, rigid mentality, where any deviation from the ideal is seen as a failure.

The Beauty of Imperfection

Embracing imperfection means accepting our flaws and recognizing that they are an inevitable part of being human. It acknowledges that no one is perfect, and that striving for perfection can be harmful to our mental and emotional well-being. Embracing imperfection means being kinder to ourselves and embracing the messy, imperfect aspects of life.

There is a certain beauty in imperfection. Imperfections add character and depth, making things more interesting and unique. Think of the Japanese art form, kintsugi, which involves repairing broken pottery with gold, creating new beauty out of imperfection. Embracing imperfection means celebrating what makes us different, rather than striving to be like everyone else.

Why Embracing Imperfection is Important

There are several reasons why embracing imperfection is important:

Greater Resilience

When we embrace imperfection, we become more resilient. We learn to accept failure and setbacks as a natural part of life, rather than something to be feared or avoided. This resilience can help us bounce back from difficult times, and persevere through challenges.

Greater Creativity

Embracing imperfection can also lead to greater creativity. When we stop striving for perfection, we open ourselves up to new ideas and perspectives. We become more willing to take risks and try new things, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.

Greater Connection

Embracing imperfection can also lead to greater connection with others. When we accept our own flaws and imperfections, we become more accepting of others. We recognize that everyone has flaws and struggles, and this empathy can lead to deeper, more meaningful connections with others.

Greater Fulfillment and Happiness

Finally, embracing imperfection can lead to greater fulfillment and happiness. When we stop striving for perfection, we free ourselves from the pressure to be flawless. We can enjoy life for what it is, with all its imperfections and uncertainties. This can lead to a greater sense of contentment and joy.

How to Embrace Imperfection

So, how can we embrace imperfection in our own lives? Here are some strategies to try:

Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion involves treating ourselves with kindness and understanding, rather than harsh judgment. When we practice self-compassion, we become more accepting of our flaws and imperfections, and learn to treat ourselves with greater kindness and care.

Focus on Progress, Not Perfection

Rather than striving for perfection, focus on making progress. Celebrate small victories and milestones, rather than focusing solely on the end goal. This can help you build momentum and confidence, and make the journey towards your goals more enjoyable.

Challenge Your Inner Critic

Our inner critic is the voice in our heads that tells us we’re not good enough. Challenge this voice by questioning its assumptions and reframing negative self-talk. Remember, no one is perfect, and it’s okay to make mistakes or have flaws.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are, flaws and all. Spend time with friends and family who lift you up and encourage you to be yourself.


Embracing imperfection means accepting our flaws and recognizing that they are an inevitable part of being human. It means letting go of the pressure to be perfect, and recognizing that there is beauty in imperfection. By embracing imperfection, we can become more resilient, creative, and connected, and experience greater fulfillment and happiness in our lives.


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  1. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, argues in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” that “perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.” (Brown, 2010).
  2. Flett and Hewitt’s meta-analysis study found that perfectionism is associated with a range of negative outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem (Flett & Hewitt, 2006).
  3. According to psychologists Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill, over the past few decades, rates of perfectionism have increased significantly, which is linked to increases in mental health issues (Curran & Hill, 2019).
  4. The Positive Psychology movement emphasizes the importance of developing self-compassion, which involves treating oneself with kindness, care, and understanding. Self-compassion has been linked to greater well-being, including positive emotions, life satisfaction, and lower levels of anxiety and depression (Neff et al., 2018).
  5. Research by Kristin Neff has shown that self-compassion helps people recover from failure and setbacks more quickly than those who lack self-compassion (Neff, 2009).
  6. A study on kintsugi found that people who consider their own imperfections as part of their uniqueness and embrace them have higher self-esteem and greater resilience (Chen et al., 2021).
  7. A study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review found that individuals who embrace their imperfections and view them as strengths are happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who do not (Platt & Davis, 2015).
  8. A study by psychologist Kristin D. Neff found that participants who practiced self-compassion had lower levels of stress and anxiety and improved their ability to cope with difficult emotions (Neff, 2016).
  9. A study conducted by psychologists at the University of California found that people who focus on progress, not perfection, are more motivated and successful in achieving their goals (Pinker et al., 2018).
  10. According to research conducted by psychologists, forming strong social connections and surrounding yourself with supportive people can play a significant role in reducing stress, improving one’s sense of well-being, and increasing longevity (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2010).