“Yes, others have flaws, too.” I used to think. “But mine are different.”
“Mine are heavier. My flaws are the kind of flaws one actually needs to hide, because they’ll disturb people.”
A few weeks ago, I watched the “Dancing With The Stars” Season 18 finale episode again, specifically for the freestyle performance by Amy Purdy and Derek Hough. Purdy had lost the lower part of her legs due to a bacterial infection a few years prior, so she learned how to dance on prosthetic legs. Their final dance was full of emotion—as if the movement was coming from deep inside her soul. It was truly inspiring to watch.
She could have decided not to join a show for dancing. She could have limited herself. She could have hidden her “flawed” legs from the millions of people watching her dance. But she didn’t.
Now, as I am standing in a light rain, my wet hair sticking on my face, I feel inspired by Amy Purdy to share my flaws openly—just like she did by joining a TV show—rather than hide them away.
So here it is—my declaration of flaws:
Sometimes I struggle with mental health issues, but I’ve become a master at pretending I don’t. I am afraid of being alone in the dark, afraid of housebreakers like a little child, and afraid of turning red when speaking in front of a group. I’m impatient and I feel lost at times. I am afraid of not being strong enough to endure my suffering and am afraid of being too powerful at the same time. I am afraid of dying, so I try to live carefully.
I’ve said things like, “I really don’t have the money to go to that climbing course,” or, “That hiking trip sounds like a great idea, but sadly I don’t have time.”
I didn’t dare say, “What if my fear of heights kicks in and I’m unable to overcome it?” or, “I’m nervous to hike with you; I don’t know you that well; I don’t feel safe. What if I can’t keep up with you?”
I’ve also said things to myself like, “You’re absolutely beautiful, even with glasses, and even squint-eyed,” and I meant it. But I’ve never told myself, “You’re absolutely beautiful, even with your big nose and thin hair.” I am afraid of not being beautiful enough. My hair is too thin, my toes are too long, my eyes are too small, my skin isn’t clear enough. The list goes on.
Now, whenever I catch myself picking on my flaws and fears, I remember that they belong to me as a part of my journey, and they’re feeding my wisdom. The always inspiring Pema Chödrön once said, “If you throw out your neurosis, you also throw out your wisdom.” I believe in this statement whole-heartedly.
So whenever I’m feeling unworthy and imperfect, I come back to this:
It’s okay to be the anxious one: the one who fears failure and success alike.
It’s okay to be the imperfect one: the one who has a big nose and chubby legs.
It’s okay to be the stupid one: the one who makes mistakes and doesn’t know math.
It’s okay to mess up 100 times—and even more.
I am strong: but I can be weak too.
I am scared: but I can be courageous, too.
I am inspired and centered: but I can be a hot mess sometimes, too.
If we dare to be open and authentic, we create a chance to relate to each other—which is a deep desire in all of us. Like Brené Brown, researcher and storyteller, once said, “We’re wired for connection.”
There’s no recipe for authenticity; it’s a choice we make daily and a skill we can develop.
Let yourself be the one disturbing others with your honesty and let them disturb you with their authentic, yet imperfect selves.
We can start right here, right now. Ask yourself:
What’s my deepest flaw?
What’s my most daunting fear?
How far can I go without falling?
Who would I be I without failing?
The only way to create a deep and meaningful connection is by embracing our flaws.
Let’s be deeply flawed. Utterly scared. Unimaginably vulnerable.
That’s where our true beauty lies.
Author: Svenja Dietz
Image: Natalia Figueredo/Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Callie Rushton