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  • Writer's pictureCristina Stone

Embracing All of Who and What We Are

Updated: Dec 15, 2023


‘It is in the process of embracing our imperfections that we find our truest gifts: courage, compassion, and connection’

Brene Brown- The Gifts of Imperfection

 

Recent coaching work made me reflect deeply on the need to embrace the ‘flaws’ or 'imperfections' that we perceive in ourselves, and which we try so hard to change, often without great success. I went looking for new points of view from which to consider what to do about those less than perfect personal characteristics that are an intrinsic part of who we are, those intangible aspects of personality that make us unique, and in spite of which, we can be whole.


In my search for some morsel of new wisdom, I serendipitously came across the art and craft of visible mending, which the Japanese call Sashiko. Literally meaning ‘little stabs’, Sashiko is a type of Japanese embroidery or stitching used for the decoration or reinforcement of cloth and clothing. It is quite simply beautiful!


Originally used by Japanese peasants to reinforce and ‘winter-proof’ their clothing, the small running stitches would reinforce stress points, and repair worn places or tears. This method of visible mending, struck me as a good metaphor for embracing the flawed and imperfect parts of who we are, as we often wear our clothes as a shield/ mask, projecting an image of how we would like to be seen and perceived.


As an antidote to perfectionism, this metaphoric ‘visible mending’ is about making the flawed and imperfect visibly beautiful, letting go of the need to conform to the unrealistic standards that we set for ourselves, and acknowledging that we may be at risk of losing the essence of who we really are if we relentlessly try to deny all the things that make us whole.


Our peculiar uniqueness dictates that there is always a context in which we are going to be out of our comfort zone, but we need to learn to embrace it, celebrate it and stay deeply invested in the work required to reframe our thinking about what it means to be ‘perfect’.


Perfection is a self-defeating illusion, a ‘hustle’ that drives disconnection both from ourselves and the world. As Brene Brown puts it in her book Daring Greatly:

  • Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence;- Perfectionism is not self-improvement;- Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because perfection doesn’t exist. It’s an unattainable goal

Can you think of situations when perfectionism drives you? What does it cost you? What would it take for you to be more self-compassionate? What would you gain?


Best Wishes,

Cristina


Copyright ©️ CS Coaching. Photography by C Stone.

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