Prizing Imperfections

how to accept your flaws“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

~ George Burns

This quote makes you laugh because it catches you off guard.

You find yourself agreeing wholeheartedly during the first part, only to find yourself agreeing again when he says something that seems to reflect an opposite sentiment at the end.

We love to feel connected. We want to feel close with other people.

But human imperfections always demand a little bit of space. That’s especially true with family members who don’t always politely respect your privacy boundaries.

So we prefer it when they live in another city. We can have all the closeness and intimacy we want in small doses.

There are certain skills and talents that I’m fairly proud of. But it’s my weaknesses I’m most proud of. Well, to be more accurate, it’s the growth I have managed in those areas that makes me glad.

For whatever reason, I didn’t start this life as an accepting person.

It’s not that I judged people, or thought myself better than them. It’s just that I didn’t let them get close if I perceived any flaws in their personality, intelligence, social skills, or whatever.

So you can probably imagine how many close friends I had. I mean, I had friends, but I never totally accepted them as “my own people,” so to speak.

If you’ve ever seen the Disney movie, Cars, you have already witnessed a version of the lesson life has taught me (but with fewer talking cars in my case).

In Cars, lightning McQueen considers the “people” of Radiator Springs too flawed and backward to be worthy of his time. The rusted, mostly ignorant “Mater” character is the worst of them.

But in the end, McQueen realizes the true value of friendship and learns to appreciate Mater for who he is. McQueen discovers the joy of fully accepting others, flaws and all.

I did that.

The reason for my confession is simple. My life improved dramatically because of my personal growth in that area. So I spread the word in case it helps anyone else recognize the value of celebrating the imperfection of people.

Happily, I discovered most people were way ahead of me when it comes to accepting the flaws of others. As I began to let them into my life more completely, I realized something I wasn’t expecting.

Part of my hesitancy to let people get close stemmed from my own irrational belief that I could somehow have friendships where nobody perceived my flaws…flaws they were destined to discover if I really let them become a part of my world.

how to accept your flawsIt’s interesting that as a relationship coach I now find myself helping others to build greater relationship intimacy, sometimes by overcoming the very weakness I am describing. It’s like someone with a fear of heights deciding to become a skydiving instructor.

In any case, my message to you is this. I know I often emphasize ways to screen out men who are unworthy of your time and affection. But wisdom often comes in the form of a two-sided coin. You cannot understand the whole coin unless you are aware of both sides.

So here’s the balancing truth. Imperfections are not to be feared in yourself or others. Evaluate the imperfection and decide if it truly interferes with the possibility of a beautiful connection. If not, discover the joy of loving a flawed human being with your whole heart.

Always on your side,

James

*Photo source – Disney


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20 thoughts on “Prizing Imperfections

  1. Ali said:

    That is very honest of you, a nice post. I think that I am getting better at doing this too as I get older, some people judge flaws more than others. I feel that people always assumed things about me when I was younger because I was very shy. Now, I have opened up more to people, and I know that I should accept everyone – but still listen to my instincts in case I sense something isn’t right about someone.

  2. James, you are amazing. I’ve been following your work for a while now. I’m an Intuitive Coach and your words are really aligned with the truth – you are bang on! Well done, keep up the great work and thanks so much for sharing. Much love, Rebecca

    • James Bauer said:

      Awesome. Thanks Rebecca!

  3. Thanks James!
    Actually, the first flawed human being to love is ourselves and once we accept and
    keep that front and center it should become easier to relate to and love others withn their flaws and imperfections.
    Really appreciate your sharing.

    • Lena said:

      This is so true, Yvonne! We need to learn to love our self to be able to love others. Like the Bible says ” Love others as you love yourself”.
      And if we love our own flaws and strong sides all together, we definitely can love or accept flaws of other people, who are close to us, who needs us, who we want to be with. Love and acceptance are concurred things in life.

  4. Carlie said:

    I thought I was the only one who protected myself like this. My change began to happen about a year before I met someone who would totally expose me for who I was. He was a very flawed person and quite open about his weakness’. He made no apologies. He loved me the way I was and I was intrigued enough to fall in love too. 9 months later he left me…now I count all his flaws to justify why it was probably a good thing. But I genuinely love this very flawed human. It changed me and I will never hide my flaws again.

  5. HardyMarbles said:

    This happened to me as well and it took me a very long time to learn what to do with it. Thank you for confirming.

  6. Sara said:

    James,
    cheers from Germany! Talking about imperfections, I just wonder… I’m living with a chronic disease which isn’t life threatening, but it’s quite limiting my life quality- I don’t have tones of energy, I can’t be miss sporty and many times I feel exhausted and prefer to stay at home instead of going out in the evening and have fun. But my endocrinological disease isn’t visible, I even look good during my bad times. I’m attractive, intelligent, sensitive, outgoing, spontaneous and I try to enjoy life as much as possible. Recently I have read from a relationship coach that if you want to attract a high quality man first you have to be a high quality woman yourself. My ex-husband few times said to me he is sick and tired of my symptoms and he understands why men above 40 prefer young and healthy girls instead women in my age ( 47). His behaviour was very hurtful for me and I have problems to see myself as a high quality woman, because I’m not healthy. So I’m asking myself if I should lower my expectations on my future partner, because I’m not an absolutely flawless dream woman or should I despite of my health issue consider myself as fully valuable and to be worth to get the best possible match for me?

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s a very good question, Sara. However, I disagree with a premise behind the question.

      You are starting from the premise that people exist on a scale from less value to more valuable. I know you probably didn’t mean it that way, but you are unconsciously judging yourself on a scale that does not exist. You are irreplaceable, of infinite value, and worthy of the absolute best relationship.

      That being said, let me try to answer your question. The person you try to form a long-term relationship with should be a person you can be extremely happy with while also making them extremely happy.

      What it takes to make a person happy differs from one person to another. It’s not about who’s more valuable or worthy as a partner. It’s about finding a match that enhances the life of both parties. Some people won’t really be bothered by periods of low energy. They might see that as an opportunity to pursue hobbies you wouldn’t be interested in anyway. I hope that helps you to think about your situation differently.

      James

      • Yes, Sara, when I am tempted to diminish my value by saying something negative, I resist. I am now 76, and the man I’m dating is 70 (with much smoother flawless skin). I was once 30# heavier and only am slim because of a healthy lifestyle now (but I don’t need to worry about occasional variations, either). I know he accepts me as I am (and I like that he has a little chubby belly because mine is flat -even with extra flesh because I won’t pay big $$ to try to look like “real housewives”). Don’t ever put yourself down; men like a woman with confidence.

  7. Sara said:

    Thank you for your responses! Probably my self confidence is still affected by the attitude of my ex-husband, who couldn’t accept the fact that I have a chronic illness and he ran away from me, looking for a younger and healthier woman ( which he still didn’t find..) So I started to believe that I could only make a man happy if I’m perfectly healthy, but since I’m not, I won’t attract a man who would make me happy..

  8. Jen said:

    “It’s like someone with a fear of heights deciding to become a skydiving instructor.”

    Literally laughed out loud. But you know what? It’s always the teachers who understand the basic challenges that make the best teachers, because they know what it feels like to not know see both sides of the coin. You’re doing great.

  9. Sarah said:

    If possible I would like some advice on this topic. I am involved with a man who is terrified of people, especially women, getting close to him, because he says they will realise that he is a bad person. From what I have seen so far he is a really beautiful person, but likes his freedom and needs to be ‘selfish’ sometimes. I think he thinks he’s a bad person because he was in a six year relationship where the woman tried to control him, and he rebelled, and she was often upset. His family loves him, his friends love him and he’s still friends with his ex, so I honestly don’t think he’s a bad person, at worst not suited to relationships but I’m also a very independent person so I want to try because he’s an amazing guy.
    Is there any way that I can help him be less afraid of intimacy? We’ve been involved for three months in an ongoing push-pull situation, where when we become closer and are very happy he asks to stop. After a couple of days it starts again. To further complicate things we are housemates! I know it’s not clever to be involved with someone who has a fear of intimacy but I’ve fallen in love and want to at least try to see if showing him love and acceptance might make him less afraid. I know I need all my patience for this.
    Whatever happens, I’ll be friends with him, so advice on this will be helpful either way. I really trust you James, I’ve been following you for a year now and although I don’t yet have the boyfriend I’ve been hoping for, I have learnt so much from you about men, other social relationships and about life. Thank you.
    If this question is too big for this forum please email me?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Sarah. Thanks for being a loyal reader. You have asked if there is a way to help him be less afraid of intimacy. That is a very complex issue, but I will say this. If you succeed at helping him change, it will happen only after you learn what intimacy means to him.

      For some reason, he equates intimacy with something he fears. Find out what it means to him. When he looks into the future what pain does he see when he imagines being open and close with you?

      James.

      P.S. For a more thorough analysis of your situation, consider submitting your question to one of my hand-picked relationship coaches.

    • K said:

      I’m going through the same thing. I figured it was something like that as him interpretating intimacy with a fear. I’ve been with my lil Hermit Crab for about 3 years now, and he’s STILL afraid of intimacy. I figured he will choose when he’s ready. Considering his harsh upbringing around violence and other damaging aspects that are now surfacing as an adult, he finds himself unhappy unless his life isn’t going the way he planned, or where he’s in control. That’s one thing a man can’t do; control what you do with that part of him he hides so viciously. It’s like Beauty in The Beast, where the beast always guards that rose behind the glass… so fragile, yet very symbolic. Becoming vulnerable is to become courageous. I’ve observed that It’s something you can’t really help him with. He’s gotta truly want it(which he does, he just doesn’t want to give up his power over his demons/flaws/vulnerability/heart) otherwise to him, in his mind.. that’s a huge “turn off.” Even for him. We as women of course, don’t think this way, and only feel natural when it comes to showing emotions and thirsting for a deeper connection. But unfortunately, some men really do believe it they let you see their “other side,” you’d feel differently about them. On some notes, that’s understandable. Some guys flaws are really just having a bad reputation with miss scandalous, and can’t think of anything else to talk about that wouldn’t end up leading back to the person he used to be. To finish up here, all in all the secrets you seek through intimacy are his own, and his to give alone. Yes most of the time, I feel he’s controlling, selfish, and unbelievably contradictory most of the time; but deep down… he really does feel. I had to question it a few times, but hes opened up, after facing me and my doubts that he truly loved me. He doesn’t want to share me(in fear I’ll be swept away by someone who does know how to show affection) he’s selfish(cuz he can get away with the immaturity with me cuz unlike him, I’m the opposite; in which he faces up front the very area he lacks in which displeases his male ego) and last but not least, he’s easily jealous. Why? He’s afraid my attention will be redirected by an old friend, or colleague. Afraid of rejected for his own objections and ultimately emotional rejection. Sad really, but he’s a work in progress. Reminds me of a big kid that just needs good role models… and his parents that are still with each other that have tried killing each other in his child hood years being drunks, STILL together, miserable.. are living in a sad arrangement to this day just cuz they’ve been together for so long, it’s a codependency. He has no idea what real love is, feels like; to venture in to the unknown has to mean certain death, or so he outwardly exposes as such. Patience will pay off.

  10. sonnet said:

    I really enjoy the readings….thank you for sharing the wisdom you’ve gained.

  11. Kendra said:

    A wonderful post James. Well done! Thank you!!

  12. Rita said:

    Your closing statement James was so profound, I’ve made it my quote for the week. It’s like reading Proverb … Wisdom given only by God to you! Thank you for your obedience…in sharing your gifts! Blessings to you always!

  13. Lou Ann said:

    This is an insightful, very transparent, practical and extremely well written post. Thanks for inspiring us to greater growth! Jesus was the perfect example of this, He regularly hung out with drunks, prostitutes,tax gatherers,lepersand “sinners”,people who were the outcasts of society in fact! He did not encourage their lifestyle or dysfunctions,yet at the same time He loved every one fully and deeply,and people were drawn to His love and unconditional acceptance. I have a long go in emulating this.. Thanks you for your encouraging post spurring us on to greater love and acceptance of other . We reap the benefits of what we give out! ◄Matthew 22:39 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

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