Embracing Imperfection

The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi is just embracing imperfection in ourselves and our surroundings, which includes everyone we meet. Everyone we meet will be a tall order, so let us put that aside and look at the flaws in our surroundings and seeing the quirks in ourselves.  This will show us the beauty in life revealed through imperfections.

Many everyday items we use are the result of failed attempts to develop a particular product. Instead of throwing the failed attempt out. They found another use for the failed product. Sticky notes are one example. They were trying to develop a much stronger adhesive for a different purpose altogether.  They looked at what they had and brainstormed till coming up with the idea to repurpose the glue they developed into sticky notes. Nothing went to waste. If they were not willing to see the usefulness of the failure they had, we would not have sticky notes. Something that everyone has used. Corn Flakes came out of trying to control sexual urges. The list goes on.

Try not to Take Yourself so Seriously

Once you start embracing imperfection in objects around you, you will begin to relax into your environment.  You already practice this philosophy without knowing it. All you need to do is acknowledge it and to draw your attention to the objects with imperfections in your life. When I want a cup of coffee, I head for the cabinet. I am already thinking about the mug from the Tolland Innand the chips on the bottom rim. These chips came from my using the mug and my wife washing and putting the mug away. I did not throw the cup out because I chipped it. No, instead, embracing imperfection in the mug,  it can never be replaced. If that mug were to fall and break into pieces, another Tolland House mug could never replace the good feelings from the cup with the chips.


My personality and life are full of chips. I have embraced them as who I am. I can laugh at them. I just chuckle and say what a bone head thing to do. Then I picture God rolling on the floor laughing holding his guts calling Peter "get over here, look at what Lefty is doing now. You have to see this. He has outdone himself this time."


When you get this perspective in your own life, you will start to encourage others to laugh at their mistakes.  You will show them embracing imperfection is actually a quality instead of a character flaw. The more people you help to embrace imperfection, the more you will be surrounded by people practicing Wabi-Sabi. They will help you stay focused on the beauty of imperfections in life.


I have imperfections that I embrace but am actively trying to change. I do not like the effect they have in my life and the people I come in contact with during my daily activities. There are no defects in my life that have transformed themselves into quality or have entirely left my life until I have embraced them as a part of me. Denying them has only empowered them.

Do something out of your comfort zone.

Try learning a new skill or doing something daring. Do this with other people who have done this before. Entering into unknown situations will likely lead to mistakes, which is what you want. Exposing yourself when you know you are going to make mistakes is a very empowering event. It will also build comradery of like-minded people laughing with you at the mistakes you make. When the laughing is done, you will get feedback on how to correct the error to achieve the goal you have set.

Now you will experience what is meant by "hanging out with successful people, and it will rub off on you." 

If you were perfect, you’d be similar to a drone.

You would be the same as everyone else. Where is the fun in that? When you embrace your imperfections, you will realize they make up who you are. It’s best to forget about being perfect.

Image by 진혁 최 from Pixabay

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  • I like this idea of Wabi-Sabi. This was a tougher read for me. I have focused on my imperfections and often magnetized them for so much of my life. I've often bought into the notion that I'm "too broken" or just no good. This is a daily, ongoing process of praying, learning, loving myself, accepting myself with my imperfections and letting go of the constant negative stream that can occur with my thoughts. I often compare my insides to the outsides of others and I will always lose when I do this. You taught me that making mistakes is crucial in life, be weary of people not making mistakes. The challenge is that when I make a mistake to learn the lesson and move on, this seemed impossible 10 years ago, but I'm getting better at it. A good barometer on how I'm doing with myself is how judgemental I'm being towards other and/or how much I celebrate in others successes. With your help, I've learned to laugh at myself more and more, that is so important. Alot of good stuff in this writing, thanks Lefty. By the way, I wrote in the gratitude journal this morning!! Wabi-Sabi!

    • I see more and more that what I think is a mistake is really not a mistake.

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