Is imperfection a flaw to be endured, or is it really a beacon of kindness we can shine onto ourselves?
After all, imperfections can be charming, and even endearing.
It was awareness of his own imperfections that made James Joyce reveal to his beloved Nora,
“If I am to write anything fine or
noble in the future I shall do so
only by listening at the doors
of your heart.“
— James Joyce
And yet, we are bombarded daily with images of perfection, complete with instructions for how to attain it.
Perfection is “out there” somewhere, while we live “in here,” stuck within our own world of ideas about perfection.
Spending time with our inner workings can give us grounding to be at home with the beauty of our imperfections—awry in a world whose standards often don’t include our point of view.
But drawing from James Joyce’s example, I wonder if bowing to our imperfections is really the ultimate life hack?
The implications of perfection are on my mind today, as I prepare for Eu2Be’s debut at the CEW Beauty Insider presentation this Wednesday in New York.
Valued by thousands of passionate beauty enthusiasts and professionals—including me—CEW’s voice and impact on beauty is preeminent, with attendees coming to experience the latest products and vote for the most innovative.
Imperfection has already made itself at home with my ambitions: I’m feeling under the weather, so my idea for how I should prepare for Thursday differs from what’s actually happening, which only intensifies the question of will Eu2Be make the grade like we did at the Indie Beauty Expo?
The potential outcome is both exciting and excruciating. Big moments usually are.
But the thing about big moments—especially those resulting from our own actions or choices—is that divine grace is always at hand.
Unlike perfection, where ideals are certain and narrow, the scope of possibilities within the realm of imperfection is generous and wide open.
And so it is with us. While our desire for perfection can expand our vision of possibility, in the end our best self or work is realized by “listening at the door of our own heart.”
Our true beauty shows up in mismatched encounters, revealing our aspiration and longings.
Where perfection divides, imperfection unites, making us more endearing and real.
The art of bringing anything of value into fullness requires great ambition, curiosity and intention. And as I endeavor to succeed, inquiry and listening are my tools of choice.
My goals with Eu2Be are not to simply define perfection in terms of glistening skin, but to illuminate ways of being at home with and honoring the beauty of our imperfections.
So here’s to being perfectly imperfect, and shining that beacon of kindness and understanding upon ourselves.
(Photo of Ugo Rondinone's fabulous sculpture by Eu2Be founder Charla Jones in San Francisco)