Perfect imperfection

You’re going to make mistakes in life. It’s what you do after the mistakes that counts. – Brandi Chastain

This post has been brewing in me for quite some time. However, I always found something ‘more important’ to do when I wanted to sit down and write. Yeah, I was procrastinating. I just wasn’t sure how to start this article, what to write, and how it is going to come across. I could sense the urge to write but I wanted it to be PERFECT! With my writings before I just allowed what wanted to come through, to come. But this time it was somehow different – or it felt different. Perfect or not – that is the question.

What is perfection?

Perfect is something that is flawless and meets all the requirements of a given standard – mostly it is something we strive for (whether we acknowledge it or not). We would like to have the perfect job, the perfect income, the perfect friends, the perfect partner, the perfect place to live at and the list goes on and on.

In my opinion, we all have the ‘perfect’ things for us. There can be ‘perfect’ in 2 ways – perfect in the sense that we are at ease, we are content, and just enjoying the flow of life.

The other is rather unpleasant. When we experience hardship, and see it as a burden, not a blessing (in disguise). However, these hardships – most often only in hindsight, are holding important lessons and experiences for us. I know, it isn’t always easy, but the more we resist, and blame and huffing and puffing the longer our misery lasts.

But really, do we know what perfection is? Or is it just something we think exists but actually it is just something conjured by our mind? What if instead of perfection we focus on wholeness?

Focus on Wholeness

The Collins dictionary defines it as follows: Wholeness is the quality of being complete or a single unit and not broken or divided into parts.

Here I would like to mention the wabi-sabi Japanese aesthetics which emphasizes the acceptance of imperfections. So instead of hiding or throwing out broken pottery, they use it and keep it with the rest.

Probably we all have qualities that we aren’t that proud of, or wish we never had. When we acknowledge them and don’t start beating ourselves up we can actually look deeper and see what is hiding behind these ‘unpleasant traits’ of ours. And we can ask ourselves, if this behaviour had a positive contribution to our life, what would that be?

How can a systemic view help us?

In systemic constellations when a system is whole – it means the members of that system are being seen, they are occupying their rightful place and life can flow freely. The father is the father and the son can be a son. He doesn’t need to act as the head of the family, and can fully focus on his role and life in the system while still staying loyal to where he came from.

When the wrongs are acknowledged, the pain one suffered is seen, and the younger members of a family system are ‘freed’ from carrying the burdens of the previous generations, life can flow freely.

But for this, we need to allow ourselves to feel and experience emotions that are not that pleasant. Only if we allow them to show up in a safe way, we can truly free ourselves from the attachment that is holding us back.

What can you do?

Start with acknowledging what’s present by looking at these questions – the aim isn’t to found the perfect answers, but to notice what comes up even by just reading through these questions. Don’t aim for the perfect score, but rather allow the process to take charge. 🙂

  • What does perfection mean for me?
  • What is my earliest memory about perfection? When was the first time I wanted to do something perfectly?
  • How is perfection seen in my family?
  • How is ‘imperfection’ viewed in my family (or even punished)?
  • Who in my family system comes to mind when I think about perfection?
  • What is my relationship to this member?
  • If my perfection had a well-meaning mission, what would that be?


Now you might want to write on a piece of paper your name and on another piece of paper put ‘Perfection’.

  • Stand on ‘Your name’ and notice what comes up when you look at ‘Perfection’. Don’t judge – just observe. Notice any thoughts, or sensations in your body that come up.
  • Now, stand on ‘Perfection’ and look at yourself. What do you notice now? Is there something you want to tell yourself from the position of ‘Perfection’? What is your mission?

 Remember you do this without judgement.

  • Now step back at the sheet with your name on it. What do you notice now, after you experienced ‘Perfection’ and its mission.
  • Is there anything you want to say to it?
  • You might want to experiment and say: ‘Thank you. Now I can see your true meaning.’ I give you space in my heart.’
  • Or if you don’t want to say anything, that is also fine.


Crystal ball showing a reflection of woods

What do you notice after this experience? Was there something new, something you couldn’t see before? Whatever it is, don’t judge it. Don’t try to come up with explanations so you can rationalise it. Just allow the experience to be present.

Integrate the experience into your being. Allow yourself to experience it rather than wanting to know the answer. Not knowing the answer right away is part of wholeness. Remember the Japanese wabi-sabi. Instead of throwing it out, embrace it – being whole rather than perfect.

Written by Petra J.

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