Written by: Angie Noll

As I meditated this morning, a fly kept landing on me. I found myself twitching and squirming and becoming increasingly irritated. In between flicking the fly away and repositioning my eye mask every 5 seconds, I noticed a thought zooming through my head, so fast that I nearly didn’t even notice it.

“What if they knew?”

I swatted at the thought, willing it to sit still for long enough so that I could examine it. Where did this intrusive thought suddenly come from?

And who are “they”?

Good question. Who are “they”?

“They”, in my world, consists of my newsletter subscribers and followers, and some of my friends. “They” are not my children, or my partner, or my sister. That part of the puzzle was easy to figure out.

But then I started playing the “What if” game…

The “What if” game

What if “they” knew that I cried, fairly often?

What if “they” knew I doubted myself and my writing even more often?

What if “they” knew that I didn’t know how to resolve a few ongoing issues in my own life?

What if “they” knew that sometimes I I really suck at yoga – especially the people that attend my classes.

What if “they” knew that I often felt inadequate and lost, as a writer, as a parent, as a yoga teacher, even just as a person?

What if “they” knew that I find parenting really difficult, or, even worse, that I think I’m quite bad at it because I let my kids watch Youtube for half an hour so that I can write?

What if…

Well, what if you knew?

Now you do.

And the sky didn’t fall down, the earth didn’t stop turning on its axis, and my life is still exactly the same as it was before you knew.

Last week, on the Creative Women Summit, I listened to some wonderful talks reminding creative women, in particular, to not only let go of the need to be perfect but to actually embrace our imperfections.

I was reminded that my imperfections are perfect, that there is no “right” way to do my art and, more importantly, that there is no “right” way to be me.

Which means that there is no right way to be you, either. You are perfect as you are – right now.

In a strange way, it was like being given permission to be me – warts and all.

Paying it forward

And so now I am returning the favour, paying it forward, and giving you the permission you might need to be you – warts and all.

I never considered myself to be the kind of person who needed permission to just be me. I thought I was already doing that! But while listening to these talks, I realised how much tension I carried in my abdomen, in my neck and shoulders and in my back, and how much of that tension could be attributed to the subconscious desire to be perfect.

Letting go of all the anxiety and tension around the desire to appear as polished as possible has been enormously freeing for me. Not only does my life flow better, but so does my body during a yoga class, my writing, and yes, even my parenting. I feel more gratitude for daily life than I ever did before and it’s as if I”m seeing my life with new eyes – better ones. And yet, nothing on the outside has changed – only my perception of myself.

I feel more gratitude for daily life than I ever did before and it’s as if I’m seeing my life with new eyes – better ones. And yet, nothing on the outside has changed – only my perception of myself as perfectly flawed.

The meaning of real freedom

This is my interpretation of the concept of freedom. The freedom to just be me – which allows me to accept everyone and everything else around me just as they are.

It always amazes me what a big difference a small change on the inside can make.

So now that you’ve been given permission to be your imperfect, glorious self, what are you going to do? Try it, or keep hiding behind perfectionism?

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Thank you for reading!

Posted by:Angie Noll

4 replies on “The Freedom of Imperfection

  1. Thank you, Angie. I love it! Now I can go forth into the day without having to hide all my imperfections. It’s a cultural thing, I think, that females are trained from an early age to find their faults so they can work towards “improvement” with the “help” of the beauty/ magazine/ fashion/ diet industries. I wish we could start earlier with our girls and help them internalize that everyone has imperfections but are still special nonetheless.

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    1. HI Natasha,

      Thank you for the comment, and YES!! I agree! If everyone could truly accept their imperfections, many industries would crumble. Good point about our girls. I try with mine, but sometimes I feel like it’s a losing battle – and we don’t even watch television! 😉 I think we just have to keep on accepting ourselves, bit by imperfect bit, and lead by example. A girl who sees her mother accepting her own imperfections, and simultaneously not judging her daughter for hers, stands a good chance of developing a healthier relationship with herself, I think. I hope!

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  2. I’m feeling inclined to make a “what if they knew…” list now. I suspect it would be quite empowering. Thank you for modelling this!

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    1. Make sure you have a big piece of paper…. Once I’d started on my “what if they knew?” list, I found a LOT of stuff I didn’t really want “them” to know… and here I thought I was quite transparent;-) hahah! Anyhow – excellent idea;-) go make a list.

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