I’m married to the most amazing man. Really. He has the patience of Job, the integrity of Abraham Lincoln and the looks of a rugged cowboy, all with fiery red hair. And he loves me something crazy.
But my husband is not perfect. And neither am I.
Shocking, I know. Being married nearly two years made that glaringly apparent to me. Not that I thought I was perfect before. But living with someone day in and day out and loving more deeply than you could have imagined also means allowing a blinding light to shine into the dark corners of your carefully ordered heart, exposing all the hidden insecurities, prejudices and pride.
While marriage is more intimate than any other relationship, it is not the only one that holds a magnifying glass up to your imperfections. Any relationship, whether it be friendship or romantic, can only become authentic, honest, and transformative when both individuals allow both the beautiful and the bane in them to be exposed.
Imperfect is uncomfortable, messy, hurtful, and unpredictable. While glaringly apparent to us in others, our own imperfections are the ugly blemishes we try to dress up, excuse away or simply ignore.
When we’re hurt or exposed, our instinct is to either lash back in order make that other person feel the way we’re feeling, or to withdraw and add another layer to our walls. But that only ends up causing further chaos, frustration and a deepening sense of failure. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Rather than shirk back, we need to embrace imperfections as opportunities for change, for improvement, for growth. They are weaknesses that can become points of strength as we allow them to be opportunities for great humility and grace.
To do this requires effectively communicating when our feelings get hurt, while being honest with ourselves about our own weaknesses and insecurities. It requires that every day we get up with a clean slate and the right attitude, both towards ourselves and the people with whom we are in relationship.
Make It Count
Today, rather than looking for the imperfections in the people around you, find ways to build them up. Look for the best in the them, rather than the worst. Not only will change the way we see and treat them, it will affect the way they see themselves. This doesn’t mean we’re now looking at our relationships through rose-colored glasses. We still see people for the good and the not so great but we’re choosing to love them towards a better version of themselves, the way that we would want to be loved.
When we’re tempted to begin pointing out the imperfections in the other person, let’s take a breath and remember our own. It doesn’t excuse the wrong that has been done, or negate the hurt you feel but it puts it in context, helping us to grant the grace in that moment we so desperately need ourselves. It can also make the difference between spewing hurtful barbs or speaking transformative words.
How do you live with imperfection, both in yourself and the people around you?