I recently received the pictured necklace as a birthday gift. You may not recognize what it is, but that’s what makes it so special. The story is that it’s pieces of pearl melded together to make this beautiful stone. Also, part of that story is that given the size, if this necklace was an actual pearl it would be worth thousands. I heard that and I smiled. Although no two pearls are the same, I’d rather have pieces of imperfection to make me unique rather than a perfectly round shiny pearl.
Just last week at work we were given an assessment that established the type of personality traits that are more predominant in ourselves as employees. As a psychology major, I had taken this assessment before and remembered the accuracy of the results. I also remembered how I felt about them. As I took it again, I felt as anxious as I always do when I take tests (even ones where there is no wrong answer) but, this time I felt different when I read the results even though they mirrored the results from before. Instead of feeling insecure and defensive, I felt excited and proud.
This change of mindset did not come overnight, but it was a journey that I had taken in small steps. Going hand-in-hand with forgiving myself for my mistakes, I had to accept the reality that perfection does not exist, and we are not here to be perfect or even close to it. It was a revelation, because as soon as I accepted that there is no such thing as the perfect woman, the perfect mother, the perfect partner, the perfect employee or the perfect human, I could stop expecting that of myself. Learning from my mistakes and allowing for missteps, was the only way to grow, it was the only way to see that imperfect in what made me, me.
Looking at my assessment and at my life from this point of view, made me see all the pieces. The pieces that some may look at as weakness, I now see as my strengths. The pieces that I once saw as my burdens, I now see as my teachers. I also now understand that the pieces that can be overlooked by many, are the pieces that will one day be loud enough to make a difference. These so-called imperfections make up the pieces of me that no longer strive for perfect, but instead, to leave a legacy of love as the imperfect me.
Letting go of the idea of perfect allows one to recognize the many, many amazing traits inside each of us, and how these unique pieces make up the beautiful imperfect, amazing you. They are who you are, and no piece is flawless and no life is without mistakes, so let go of perfection and love you for every trait, every misstep, every piece of you, and know that you are loved as you are. Just like the misshapen pearl, it’s beauty doesn’t come from one perfect stone, but pieces of imperfect ones, creating an extraordinary treasure.