Wouldn’t life be simpler if we lived in a perfect world? Imagine how easy it would be to have a great day if we woke up each morning knowing that no wrong could happen. Whatever our individual idea of utopia is, I’m sure we all imagine a perfect world as one in which we feel great all the time. We would get along with those around us, and we would have great views of ourselves, too.
The reality is, we don’t live in a perfect world, and we never will. As humans, we aren’t perfect, so the idea of living in a flawless environment just isn’t feasible. In our world, the real world, we are faced with conflict every day. These conflicts can rank from a small disagreement over where to eat dinner (a favorite disagreement between couples) to feelings of betrayal by those we cherish. What all conflicts have in common is that how we choose to handle them determines how we see ourselves. This perception of self, whether it is positive or negative, greatly impacts the way we feel, think, and act every single day. Certainly, the way we see ourselves influences every aspect of our lives.
So many of us come to the table with thoughts about ourselves ingrained deep into our psyche. These thoughts usually stem from some kind of conflict with someone else. For some, we base so much of our self-perception off of things that happened in the past with our families. Divorced parents, absent parents, over-achieving siblings, and a number of other family affairs can really put a dent in how we feel about ourselves. Past issues of bullying from school or maybe even a bad job can also contribute to a poor sense of self-worth. If you’ve ever struggled with physical or mental health issues, you may feel badly about yourself from those experiences.
For others, it’s not direct external factors that bring us down. Very intelligent people often have a hard time relating to others, and this disconnect can leave people feeling like they’re somehow flawed or the problem. Some people just have a different outlook on things. I’ll refer to these types as “outliers.” Outliers are usually very brilliant and find interesting ways to get things done. These types think outside the box, which often leaves them on the outside of social circles, too. Thomas Edison and other outliers revolutionize the way we live, but they may not realize exactly why they’re so different. It takes a mind shift to understand that differences in thought processes are just that. Difference doesn’t equate with being “less than.”
At some point in your life, you will almost certainly experience something similar to what’s been described above. It’s sure to be trouble if you don’t identify the situations for what they are. It’s crucial that you really look at these situations with a fine-toothed comb and see them as situations rather than personality traits or flaws. This makes all the difference between the ways you may view yourself: flawless or defective.
There is so much power in being able to make choices in our lives. This is simply another choice. You get to decide if you are flawless or defective. It doesn’t matter what’s happened to you in the past. Our true selves are not defined by circumstance. I’m willing to bet that if a friend experienced a negative situation, you wouldn’t let them feel horrible about themselves because of it. Something out of our control shouldn’t have the ability to shape how we see ourselves. Unfortunately, sometimes we let these circumstances win, and we are left feeling badly about ourselves. We think we’re defective.
If you can get on board with the idea that you aren’t defective because of something that’s happened to you, you’re off to a great start. The second part of the challenge is forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes. This part is the hardest for most people. We may be able to easily brush off things that happen to us while we struggle to brush off things we do to ourselves or others that we care about.
I know how tough this can be. When I first started my own ventures, I thought I was defective. Broken. Wrong. As I gained more self-awareness- which is critical to be able to tackle this one- I realized that much of my self-doubt had nothing to do with me but rather with events that happened to or around me. I also had to come to terms with some mistakes I had made in the past, and I began to understand that every single day was going to be a choice for me. I could choose to be flawless, or I could choose to be defective. I’m sure you can guess which one is harder but more rewarding. We’re all on the same playing field. None of us are perfect, so why was I beating myself up for genuine mistakes? Looking at myself as flawless meant that my intentions were generally good and that I tried hard to be a good person. Flawlessness isn’t about perfection; it’s about being adequate, having something valuable to contribute, and excelling in all aspects of our lives because we make the choice to do so.
Having the power to decide how we feel is a gift most of us take too long to realize. I wish I had learned earlier in life to cut myself some slack and understand that not everything that happens to me is my fault. You’ll be amazed at how much your job, relationships, and overall impression of the world will change when you see yourself in a different light. What choice will you make today? Are you flawless or defective? I choose flawless!