Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Mantra: Embrace Imperfection

The interesting thing about the web & blogging is that it's incredibly easy to overstate strengths, and fail to acknowledge weaknesses. It's simple to edit and edit a post to come across as cheerier or more perfect than reality, or really to talk about the highlights of life and conveniently let the messy details slip through the cracks. Similar to many stereotypical type A dietetics professionals, I have many perfectionistic tendencies. I try to tell myself that perfectionism is a "thing if the past" for me but ya know, I also realize denial is funny like that ;)

Let's be real, perfect is a myth. A perfect diet = a myth. Being a perfect employee = a myth. A perfect life = a myth. Now a perfect afternoon ride on a sunny spring day? That can totally be reality.

I LOVE endurance sports because of the freedom found on the open road. Endless miles of country road or trails are the opportunity to get lost in nature, leave worry and anxiety behind and LIVE and be FREE. In nature, we embrace uniqueness: deformed trees, decrepit barns, leaves of all shapes and colors...yet so often we hold ourselves to a different standard. We strive to streamline or 'perfect' ourselves with others so as to not stand out, with fear of showing our flaws, fear of failure, fear of not being accepted.

I've come to learn that truly living involves putting ourselves out there and risking failure...rolling with the obstacles and changes that life presents: our faults, our stumbles and our imperfections included.

Embracing imperfection means continuing to strive for excellence, while emphasizing grace. Living life passionately. Laughing at mistakes. Rolling with the plot changes as they come. Like when I enthusiastically added new clips to my cycling shoes, drove out to the valley to ride my bike only to realize said clips don't even match my pedals. Womp. Or all the times I've shown up to the pool with no swimsuit, no workout in hand and 30 minutes late ...

I am a list maker and I am constantly writing things down. I am also constantly losing those lists. Which must be in part why I started to blog: so I could have an organized place to write down experiences and thoughts that would not mysteriously disappear. Anyway, last week I decided to make a list of some imperfections that I've learned to just laugh at and accept. Shall I share a few? Why not?

  • My desk is almost always a mess. My kitchen is also almost always a mess. Our laundry is almost never folded...
  • I have a tendency to overpack for everything. Simplicity is just 'not my style.'
  • No matter how early I am up, I always manage to be running a bit behind.
  • Somedays I eat chocolate for breakfast, or dinner, or really all day long. Hey, it happens :P
  • I have a tendency to drink more coffee than water. I have been trying to break that habit for oh, 5+ years now. lol.
  • I am ALWAYS losing things. Just ask my co-workers.
  • I have a tendency to run my fuel tank into the ground, or my computer battery. Last week I finally "successfully" ran out of gas. Thanks to my awesome boss for bailing me out of that one!
I could go on! The point is, we all have flaws and no one is good at everything. Chrissie Wellington sums it up perfectly when she said "pick your battles." What really matters versus what is laughable?

Currently I am at the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (VAND) Annual Meeting. Conveniently enough, this morning's stellar session on "Coaching Skills to Facilitate Lifestyle Change" discussed the all important concept of "self-compassion." Self-compassion means showing yourself the same kindness you show others. It's empowering and frees us to tackle challenges with a "win or learn" type attitude rather than taking a "win or lose" stance. I couldn't agree more. Setting the need to maintain an image of perfection aside has been a breath of fresh air, has opened doors for me to pursue that which I am truly passionate about, has allowed me to learn and grow from mistakes rather than dwell and become paralyzed by them.

I am imperfect, but I am happy. I am willing to take chances, to fail, to learn and grow.

@chrissiesmiles: "There's no pressure, no expectation other than to do the very best with the body & mind you have on the day. That's success & perfection"

Hope you have a happy, successful yet imperfect week!


  1. My room is always a mess! I clean it every once in a while, but it's scary how quickly things get messy again!

  2. You don't need to be perfect if you're adorable! ;-)

    Another good post. (Deb)

  3. Thanks for this post. I needed this today. You're right! Imperfections are the best and I love all of mine.

  4. Great post! I needed to read something like this today. We are all imperfect. I embrace and fly my freak flag proudly.


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