“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” ― Brené Brown
After sharing a house for 4 years with my best friend it was time for me to move. We had a great time living in the same place. I have known my friend for almost 6 years at that point – we worked together, we trained together, we shared our food and laughs. But the new chapter of our lives has started with my friend’s relationship getting serious and my brother coming to live with me. It was time to venture out on my own.
I rented a cool pad near a beach and went on a house decorating and shopping journey. For those who experienced buying furniture for a whole house, you know the challenge of choices and budgeting.
The Beauty Behind the Imperfections
I wanted to make the place my new home and made a lot of effort. One of those homie things is a trivial fridge. Buying one wasn’t a small fit and I ended up getting a shiny silver unit for my kitchen.
It looked brand new until the second week my brother accidentally smashed the door against the wall. I was furious. There isn’t anything like a dent on the door of a newly bought household item that will stare right in your face as a reminder. Those who had their first scratch on a new car, pair of shoes or a phone know that feeling.
Nobody around can see it but you know the scratch is there.
My anger eventually evaporated but ultimately it was not just the scratch that triggered me. At the time I felt that my efforts to create home were under-appreciated and taken for granted. The scratch was a proverbial straw on the camel’s back.
I was the camel.
I love this example because it touches on so many aspects of our lives. This unacceptance of scratches in us is a form of perfectionism. We try to bend the reality to conform with our standards and frankly reality does not care.
Reality is all about imperfections at their best.
The Japanese art of Kintsugi deals with it in a beautiful way by putting together broken bowls with gold paint emphasizing the cracks as the beauty of this world.
Another aspect is our flaw to overestimate our own contribution when working together in a relationship or a work setting. This is known as a responsibility bias which leads people to feel under-appreciated by others. In my situation, I felt that I was carrying the lion load of chores but my brother was doing his share of work at the house.
We are self-centric creatures by default after all but is also due to us having more visibility to the contributions on our side.
You also know from your own experience that the initial feeling of upset fleets the scene once you had your favorite new toy covered in a few scratches after a while. We get used to the new look, new circumstances, changes with time.
Do you remember when you had a bad haircut only to find that its “actually not too bad” a few weeks later?
We get over small things eventually.
And more importantly, we can always buy new fridges but having those close to you people in life – children, parents or your siblings is more important than a new shiny appliance.
Those scratches are a reminder of important things in your life like human connection, the joy of having friends and loved ones and appreciating that despite our futile efforts, life is and will remain perfectly imperfect.