Today I made a big step. I wore a bikini in front of my school friends. Okay so most of you probably wouldn’t consider that any kind of an achievement, but for me it was a symbol of acceptance. I have never liked my body. There was always something I didn’t like – my nose was too big, my hips were too narrow, my stomach was too large, my eyes were too small, and so on. You get the picture. I used to think this abnormal behaviour. Now I realise that it is behaviour common to every single other person in the western world today. In fact, it’s considered abnormal to be 100% satisfied with your body. Even vain. Perhaps it is vain to love the body you were given, but it is not vanity to accept the imperfections.
Relationships often thrive on imperfections. The freckle on his cheek marks him as an individual. The birthmark on her right hip is unique to her. Everybody has a little imperfection of their own. But that’s what makes them them. If everybody had the ‘perfect’ body, no one would have something unique to them. And no one would be truly beautiful if everyone was. As someone once said “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. In that case, everyone is beautiful. Because everyone is beautiful to at least one other person on the planet. And generally, beauty flows from the imperfections of life. Perfection is repetitive. Perfection is boring. Perfection does not even exist in this world. But the imperfections add spice to life. They’re what makes something truly beautiful.
And so today I decided to release my fears and display my imperfections to the world. And what I discovered was truly amazing. All of my friends had imperfections too. Here I had been thinking they all had the perfect bodies hiding under their clothes, but looking at them I could imagine all of the features they disliked about their bodies. But I didn’t care. Not one bit. It made me feel safe. Noticing the beautiful imperfections in others is an exercise I would suggest for anyone suffering with low self-esteem. And I don’t mean negative judgement. I just mean general observance of the details. Sometimes we focus so much on the big picture in others and on the details in ourselves that it does us some good to swap the two around. And again, not in a negative way. Just in a more realistic one.