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Why We Should Cherish, Rather Than Hide, Our Imperfections

May 20, 2009

by Tim

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— Because our inadequacies endear us to others —

bored_businessman.gifYour neighbor talks too loudly. Your son grabs ridiculous mouthfuls when eating. Your husband never lifts the seat.

The world is full of inadequate, annoying, problem-ridden, frustrating, frustrated people — and that’s what makes it beautiful.

As a young man I struggled to hide my inadequacies, to show the world a better face. I didn’t understand a great truth articulated by Nicholas Dawidoff, author of The Crowd Sounds Happy:

When you are young there is the terrible inability to understand that it’s your deficits that will make others not only like you but feel close to you.

Yes, it’s precisely the exuberance behind that overly-loud voice, the impetuousness behind those inadequate table manners, that make us who we are.

While some imperfections certainly deserve to be addressed, here’s the truth: The perfect person is uninteresting. As Joseph Campbell said, “it is the imperfections of life that are lovable.”

As one who exemplifies imperfection, I’m with Dawidoff: Let’s cherish, rather than hide, our inadequacies.

fulfilled_mother_with_daughters.jpgI know, I know — last week I touted the breaking of habits in Three Ways to Become More Entrepreneurial Now. But there are some things about ourselves that we can change and some we can’t (see Can We Really Change? Yes and No).

So let us embrace our soulful imperfections (Lord knows we have many to embrace). In the meantime, here are some other flawed, inadequate essays you might enjoy:

The One Place You’ll Always Be Indispensable

Are You an Amateur? Why Not?

The Post That Never Was

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