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Happily Imperfect #MondayMusings #1000Speak

In a world where botox and plastic surgery are so easily on offer, I sometimes wonder why we can’t just be the way we are.  Who tells us that we need all these things to look beautiful? Who tells us that our nose is not ‘perfect’? What is a perfect nose anyway? And does fixing our nose or other parts of our body make us feel happier about ourselves? Perhaps once our nose is ‘perfect’, we might need a matching ‘perfect’ mouth!

Living in India, it’s not uncommon for me to be asked, “How many children do you have?” and when I answer that I have none, I don’t know whether to laugh or yell when people commiserate me. Who says that having children makes every woman’s life perfect? 

I remember questions being asked when I was single until my forties. “When will give us some good news?” (a standard idiotic question in India to be interpreted as ‘when are you getting married?’ or ‘when are you having a baby?’). I’d love to respond with, “I can give you good news right now. I’m enjoying my work and am fine being single.” And they’d respond with a smirk which said”As if!” Who says that having a partner makes one’s life complete?

Happily Imperfect

But beyond all these are the times when we allow our notions of perfection to stop us from being happy.

We set goals, create bucket lists and make promises to ourselves. All that is fine. It keeps us dreaming. It keeps us focussed. Sometimes, these very things can keep us from being happy.  Why? When we fail at achieving them, or can’t keep up with our goals, we start to beat ourselves up, calling ourselves names, labelling ourselves ‘stupid’, ‘useless’ and ‘losers’.

We cannot be happy until we accept that we are imperfect. It’s as simple as that.

Happiness is a direct result of self-acceptance. Ask me, I know. And what is self-acceptance if not compassion towards oneself.

As Brené Brown says so eloquently  “….. living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

I love this story and must share it with you today.

In the perfume shop show window was a large jar of freckle salve, and beside the jar was a sign, which read: Do you suffer from freckles? 
“What does the sign say?” ask Pippi Longstocking. She couldn’t read very well because she didn’t want to go to school as other children did.
“It says, ‘Do you suffer from freckles?'” said Annika.
“Does it indeed?” said Pippi thoughtfully. “Well, a civil question deserves a civil answer. Let’s go in.”
She opened the door and entered the shop, closely followed by Tommy and Annika. An elderly lady stood back of the counter. Pippi went right up to her. “No!” she said decidedly.
“What is it you want?” asked the lady.
“No,” said Pippi once more.
“I don’t understand what you mean,” said the lady.
“No, I don’t suffer from freckles,” said Pippi. Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, “But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!”
“I know it,” said Pippi, “but I don’t suffer from them. I love them. Good morning.”
She turned to leave, but when she got to the door she looked back and cried, “But if you should happen to get in any salve that gives people more freckles, then you can send me seven or eight jars.”
(Pippi Goes on Board (Pippi Longstocking) by Astrid Lindgren)

 

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We cannot be happy until we accept that we are imperfect. It's as simple as that.Click To Tweet

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March 20 is celebrated as World Happiness Day. Find out more and download Happiness Resources from the Action For Happiness website. The #1000Speak effort for this month is looking at the connection between happiness and compassion. Check out more posts on the linky.

 

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Click on the image for Happiness Resources

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34 Comments

  1. leadership skills leadership skills March 28, 2016

    Hi, loved your post. It is so true that we cannot be happy until we accept that we are imperfect, always be aware that no one is. Thanks for sharing a very inspiring post.
    leadership skills recently posted..#AskNoahStJohn Show EpisodeMy Profile

  2. richa singh richa singh March 23, 2016

    What is perfect? It is so much dependent on perception that by virtue of it the idea is itself so imperfect.
    I have had to take some serious calls to ensure all these ‘perfect’ notions do not flood my head.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | March 28, 2016

      Yes, trying to be perfect can kill you. It’s best that we work that out of our system!
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..BookGrabbrMy Profile

  3. Darla M Sands Darla M Sands March 23, 2016

    Great message! I’m reminded of an American actress who had plastic surgery done on her nose, then her career took a nosedive (sorry about the pun ~grin~) because she now appears sort of generic. You inspire me. It’s humbling to realize what an opportunistic time and place I was born in. It is true, however, that even complete strangers would ask when I planned to have children upon getting married. As if, indeed. My partner and I never felt cut out for parenting and have not regretted the decision for a moment. Best wishes!

  4. Laurie Laurie March 22, 2016

    Some of the most well-meaning people ask intrusive questions, like the “good news” queries. Too bad they don’t realize how that makes us feel bad with our present lives, even though they’re going great. Sounds like you had a good answer, but still surprised people didn’t know better.
    Laurie recently posted..7 Amazing (and Unexpected) Benefits of TravelMy Profile

  5. Esha M Dutta Esha M Dutta March 22, 2016

    Wonderful analogy…and very topical for the times we live in, where the desire to show ourselves as perfect often takes away a lot of spontaneity from our lives and we suffer because we cannot accept ourselves as we are, warts and all!

  6. Parul Thakur Parul Thakur March 22, 2016

    What a lovely story! Who defines what is perfect or imperfect? Why do we have to prove that we are married or have babies to show life is perfect and happiness exists. There are people who are not happy but they are married or have children. We need to define our own happiness and what makes us, us. It is so important. Thank you for the lovely post Corinne.
    Parul Thakur recently posted..#Foodventures – Sweet and Spicy Mango ChutneyMy Profile

  7. Debbie D Debbie D March 22, 2016

    Love the Pippi story! One person’s idea of imperfection is another person’s ideal. As for not having children, don’t get me started! 😛 I wrote an article about that very thing, “The Childfree Life”. We were harangued for years. “Who says that having children makes every woman’s life perfect?” EXACTLY!
    Debbie D recently posted..THE GREAT THEME REVEAL OF 2016! #AtoZChallenge #AtoZRevealMy Profile

  8. Mimi Mimi March 22, 2016

    You really made me laugh out loud, and it is so true, people always seem to know exactly what should make you happy without even considering your own thoughts and feelings. Maybe if we learned to ask the right questions we could support each other instead of criticizing either openly or underlying. My dreams are not necessarily somebody elses dreams. That goes especially for parents and children. And the sooner we understand that the happier we can be ….

  9. Liv Liv March 22, 2016

    Pippi is one of my favorites – and agreed. Freckles rock.

  10. Roxanne Jones Roxanne Jones March 22, 2016

    Nabanita touched on something that I’m going to try and articulate further…I think we are perfect in our imperfections…each of us is unique and therefore perfect in our own way. Perhaps not by other people’s standards (or judgments), but when we can get to a place of self-acceptance, it doesn’t matter what others think. They’re not living our lives–we are.

  11. Barbara Barbara March 22, 2016

    Love this! It is often a struggle to embrace self-acceptance, especially as we age, but it makes all the difference in how our world embraces us, warts and all.
    b

  12. payal agarwal payal agarwal March 22, 2016

    “Happiness is the direct result of self acceptance.” Totally agree with this thought. Lovely post. 🙂
    payal agarwal recently posted..lightMy Profile

  13. Heba Heba March 21, 2016

    Your blog spoke to me on so many levels. I struggle with my perfectionist parents, and a very superficial society. I currently live in Egypt and have reached the cultural expiration date (OMG 30 years old) and I am single and childless. I have to remind myself that I am enough. All that is out there is an illusion, and perfection? No such thing exists. I count my blessings, and my imperfections. It’s all part of being alive 🙂

    thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. MaggieMayQ MaggieMayQ March 21, 2016

    I know what I’m going to answer next time someone is asking me when I am planning on having children “Well, I’m expecting a unicorn in May 2017 – and that should count!”

    I have never understood the part about being somebody else but ourselves. Why would you want to be your neighbour? We know nothing about the neighbours struggles in life.

    And there are a few things in life that can’t be wrong. Pippi, balloons, popcorn and unicorns.

  15. Rena McDaniel Rena McDaniel March 21, 2016

    I really enjoyed this Corinne! We don’t do enough of this for sure. No botox for me I’ll grow old gracefully and happy!

  16. Kiri Kiri March 21, 2016

    The little excerpt from Pippi Longstocking reminded me of how my mother told me that my freckles were fairy kisses. They have never really bothered me since! Though I have managed to find other imperfections to dwell on, these days I a little more accepting of them, and yes, happier.

  17. Anamika Agnihotri Anamika Agnihotri March 21, 2016

    I loved the line which meant ‘I have freckles but I don’t suffer from them.’ Suffering is indeed all in the mind. Looking at ourselves from others’ critical eyes only ends up burning energies. This post introduced me to Pippi’s stories. The Wikipedia description of Pippi makes her quite a strong and unconventional girl. It will be worthwhile to introduce her to my son at a later stage. For now she will be for me 🙂
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted..The Compulsive Book Buying Syndrome #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  18. Haralee Haralee March 21, 2016

    I love this post Corinne! I feel sad and bad and compassion for people who are super critical, judgmental, and unhappy with themselves and don’t realize it! I read lots of Pippi when I was a kid,and haven’t thought of her in decades!
    Haralee recently posted..My Favorite Holiday, PurimMy Profile

  19. Kelly Kelly March 21, 2016

    I love this! Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” and I couldn’t agree more. Tweeted.

  20. Vasantha Vivek Vasantha Vivek March 21, 2016

    Great post, Corrine !!! I too joined in your celebration …. <3

  21. Jennifer Jennifer March 21, 2016

    I love this. Embrace yourself, freckles and all. (Actually was jealous of all those girls with freckles!)

  22. Vishal Bheeroo Vishal Bheeroo March 21, 2016

    It’s a very thought-provoking question brought in a light manner. It’s true people are more interested in our lives than in their own personal stuffs The self guilt thing is rampant in our consciousness and many of us do suffer from it. Absolutely love the analogy on freckles.

    Good day

  23. Nabanita Nabanita March 21, 2016

    You touch on a very important point here, Corinne..it is not at all necessary to be married or have children to be happy as a woman… I don’t understand why all these are added as conditions to achieve some form of happiness which is considered to be the ultimate state of zen.. I think everyone has their own definition of happiness and my imperfections make for my perfect happiness and I should learn to love it:)

  24. Alana Alana March 21, 2016

    I loved the Pippi story. I never read the books. This is going on my list; I love that attitude so.

  25. Carla Carla March 21, 2016

    This Monday Im striving to not let a goal of perfection turn into procrastination.
    Different.
    Same.
    <3

  26. Tamuria Tamuria March 21, 2016

    This is a great post, Corinne, so much truth in it. We do set ourselves up for unhappiness when we refuse to accept who we are, warts (or freckles) and all. I love the Pippi story.

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