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10 ways to reframe your flaws – perfect is not real

Let me tell you about Steph, Steph just had her first baby. Her baby is gorgeous, she even sleeps through the night. Steph has a lovely husband, who is capable of making a decent meal, giving her a foot rub, changing nappies and being a generally good guy. She has a comfortable home, with a sunny deck. She has a group of mum friends who she can roll her eyes with, enjoy a wine and have some fun.
But she is miserable. She looks at new mums on Instagram and feels she can’t compete. On Instagram all babies live on golden beaches in designer muted toned clothes. Mum has golden skin and perfect long hair and a flat stomach. But she has bare feet, so she’s relatable right? NO, she is not relatable, that’s not how it is with a new baby. And Steph’s intelligence knows this, she knows it’s a curated feed. But despite knowing it, she still falls into inadequacy every time she looks at it.
Perfect is not real. We are all flawed. Every single one of us. Our flaws are what make human, relatable, interesting. We don’t want to robot copies of each other. Making peace with your own flaws, your own quirks, your own way of being, is the first step to self-acceptance.

Here are 10 ways to reframe how you think about your flaws and quirks.

  1. People can often hide their flaws from themselves or others. You might hate Japanese food, but keep going to Japanese restaurants because you are ashamed of the fact you don’t like it. Be you, live in the truth of who you are. Don’t pretend to be someone else. We all long for authenticity. Take Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde’s advice: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” It is exhausting trying to be that person who does not have any flaws.
  2. It is not being flawless that makes us beautiful. “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” (Swiss American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Death: The Final Stage of Growth).
  3. Assess the impact of your flaws on your life and relationship. Are your flaws something you want to work on? For example, if you have a short fuse, perhaps you should try mindfulness, or anger management.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to other people. They are not nature’s ideal product, because they don’t have your flaws. Don’t compare your insides with another’s outsides. Steph was stuck in comparing herself and it made her feel miserable, even though her life is pretty damn good.
  5. What are the positive aspects of your flaws? If you are loud, noisy, and extroverted, you will know how to enjoy a party. People will want you at their party. You will understand how to put people at ease, include everyone and keep the conversation going. This is a skill.
  6. Keep it all in perspective. Your flaws don’t define you. You are more than your flaws. Write down 10 things you like about yourself and 10 things you are grateful for. If you are struggling for ideas, ask a friend to tell you three things they like about you. Offer to do the same for them.
  7. Generally, we are not attracted to people because they’re perfect. We are love people because of their flaws, their humanity is relatable. We don’t seek out people to be friends because they are perfect, with perfect houses, perfect children and perfect jobs. Their perfect houses are often empty, while you crowd into your girlfriend’s house with the messy bench.
  8. What about if you viewed your flaw as your gift to the world? Koumpounophobia is the fear of buttons. Steve Jobs had a strong aversion to buttons. This helped shape our world by developing touch screens. It also explains his preference for turtlenecks.
  9. Focusing too much on flaws means you lose sight of the big picture. François Auguste René Rodin (12 November 1840 – 17 November 1917) is considered the founder of modern sculpture. His works capture the essence and struggle of the individual. Rodin was able to catch moments of intensity. I don’t believe he sat down and thought, this needs to be flawless.
  10. Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage summed it up perfectly: “Once you have accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.” More importantly, you forgive yourself for your flaws and accept yourself.

So, stop aiming for perfect, and start aiming for real. You will be much happier.


I am a coach, mother and wife, living in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I grew up in South London, in an immigrant family in the suburbs. But I had good fortune with my parents: Dad was born in Calcutta, India, and my Mum came from communist Poland. In the 1970s I got to leave Croydon, and travel with my family through India, and behind the Iron Curtain. I saw parts of the world that my classmates could not comprehend. It sparked my wanderlust and gave me a great respect for how big and diverse our world is. And I gained an ability to move between different cultures, assimilating into them.

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