flaws, imperfections and contradictions


“Learn to be what you are, and learn to resign with good grace all that you are not.”

Henry Frederick Emile


“Everything changes when you exchange suspicion for a more positive view of human nature.”



One of the hardest things in the world for anyone is to embrace their flaws. Flaws, or words associated with flaw like blemish, defect, failing, fault, imperfection, mar or shortcoming, are all words that indicate a lack of something that prevents it ‘from being complete, wholly effective, or desirable’ (Hayakawa). Flaw is typically the most general suggesting the existence or presence of something spoiling an otherwise sound whole. Flaws, most often, imply something missing. So. Things they are not.

Look. Each of us ‘are not’ a lot of things. Recognizing those things is actually pretty easy. We notice them all the time. Shit. People are pointing them out to us all the time. That said. I guess the difficult part is accepting them and resigning yourself to ‘not being something’ with grace.  Yeah.  being able to do that is a full measure of one’s character.


“There’s a beauty in all my imperfections and he’s the one who holds them up for me to see.”



Which leads me to the most negative word associated with flaws: imperfections. While imperfection may be closer to flaw than say, defect (a functional flaw), imperfection tends to relate to form (not function). I believe we get this confused all the time – form and function.

We do this because all these words, when applied to a person, imply inferior in some way and when we personalize inferiority feelings the actual words themselves seem unimportant.


“Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”

Janis Joplin


This actually means inferiority is a slick competitor in Life.

In fact. I clumped these two quotes together to make a point on inferiority.

    • a woman who many believe ran our country for a period of time (if not absolutely influential on a variety of national programs)

    • a woman with amazing creative talent who dragged herself down into the depths of insecurity and loneliness

Both articulating the strength of “self” or at least understanding that being true to yourself is the core to everything in life. Imperfection implies inferior which is devastating when thinking about it in terms of self. We should all encourage each other to not let others drag you down. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to others and accept constructive criticism but, in the end, you aren’t inferior unless you believe it to be so.


“I ruined myself for a lot of people that weren’t even worth it.”



Now. While I could argue there really is no such thing as perfection, the opposite of imperfection, for the sake of today’s discussion let’s say there is. I do so with Walt Whitman in mind:

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”


Therein lies the most interesting imperfection of all — contradictions. More often than not we look upon ourselves as imperfections, but the reality is we are just a bundle of contradictions.

Accepting these contradictions as perfection is important because Perfection, for some odd reason, seems tightly tied to consistency. Some tenuous smooth link between what we desire, what we are, how we act and what we think. And any time this smoothness is rippled in any way, well, somehow imperfection has entered into our lives as something inferior creating.

And. Imperfection is a noisy motherfucker.

It speaks in loud voices, quiet voices and silent voices. All of which speak to us.

All of which use perfect words to perfectly fuck up our contradictory smoothness. 

The overall thought I think everyone kind of needs to get their head wrapped around is in the circular world of imperfection, or perfection <because they are actually one and the same simply different sides of the same coin> the most interesting in us, and of us, is always something of a contradiction.

But maybe that is why imperfections are so difficult for us, as in sense of self, to manage. Contradictions are not easy. Interesting, but not easy. Not always easy to grasp and not easy to understand.  And in our unease, we dwell on the imperfect feeling which is actually our perfectly interesting aspect of who and what we are. It is a battle, a debate, a whatever, I believe most everyone faces in some form or fashion. 


“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and applause of the many, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.”



There is always and I mean ALWAYS beauty in imperfections. It is sometimes not easy for someone to see because it is a contradiction – how can an imperfection be perfect and, correspondingly, how can beauty be imperfect?

All I really know is what I said earlier – all imperfection has some beauty.

I could also suggest that if you think of character, which is most likely the most important aspect of total beauty in a person <even impacting appearance>, that without some contradictions you will certainly be smooth, consistent & unrippled and less interesting.


For what it’s worth <most likely not much>.

I believe contradictions are not flaws nor are they imperfections.

Why? The truth is that Flaws, or sometimes called ‘imperfections’, are often one’s opinion. One person’s flaw is another person’s strength. Shit. A flaw can be a flaw in one context and a benefit in another. In fact. That’s the silliness in 99% of what are considered flaws, imperfections or anything associated with inferiority. It is exactly those ‘flaws’, the things we are not, that give you an advantage when you need it most.

Here is all I know. Embrace your flaws, learn to love your contradictions and stop thinking you are imperfect in some way. Ok. Just be positive because everything changes when you do.

Whatever you are looking for can only be found inside of you.


Written by Bruce