We are All Imperfect

Trial and Error

Photo by Fiona Art on

I note that some in society might acknowledge this way less than others. Complete perfection is impossible, unnatural, yet many continue to strive for it. Whole industries support the desire for perfection.

In whose eyes?


Could it not be a natural and normal state for us to be imperfect?

A person without flaws is hard to find.

Imperfection comprises many a conversation topic over dinner, in thinly veiled complaints with a neighbour or in chatting with a sympathetic friend, in the stories, books and academic circles. Just look at the sales of self-help books!

To strive to do better, to be better is an overarching wish. In raw, biological terms that drive is tied to survival. Trial and error, therefore, is a gift, a key to opening the door of knowledge, realisation and connection, the instrument to do better.

For in each clumsy attempt to do better, we do indeed learn something; we grow, we evolve. Even if we stumble, again and again, we learn what doesn’t work, often despite our actions failing miserably time after time.

A tenacious person falls seven times, and gets up eight.

For them, the inner drive to succeed is robust and unyielding, whilst others give in to apathy after the first failed attempt – their silver lining somewhat blackened.   

Mistakes can be motivating or can be soul-destroying and an excuse for chronic apathy. Some mistakes are hard to take provoking strong emotion. The emotions can be pervasive, triggering feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, anger and disappointment. We judge ourselves to have failed in some way, to have made a grave mistake.

We expected to do better.

Yet with each perceived failure, we do grow: armed with knowledge and better equipped next time a situation or problem arises. Intransigent folks might take longer to heed the subtleties of trial and error and so their journey becomes rocky, torturous and gruelling. They fling away or dismiss the gift of trial and error as if it’s irrelevant junk mail or a card belatedly received long after the day of celebration.

As Henry Van Dyke said,

Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul.”

We all begin life wanting to succeed, to achieve, to develop, to reach a level of contentment, yet often our environmental influences antagonize our conscience with self-admonishment or self-criticism.

Why are we so hard on ourselves when mistakes can be a gift, a learning process? Trial and error is part of that journey. Understanding that might just be a liberating step forward in the narrative of life.

This post is part of SoCS

45 thoughts on “We are All Imperfect”

  1. Well, except for me, of course .. [grin]
    Obsessive perfectionism ? – this is the language spoken by crocheters who have been trying all weekend to get a poncho started and who just can’t seem to get the linked chain numbers RIGHT. Sighh ..
    Of course mistakes must happen, and of course they’re really the only way to learn anything properly. Anyone who doesn’t embrace that concept is simply a dickhead.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This was wonderful and left me with a huge smile !
    Not sure what inspired this but I have a feeling many readers need to be reminded about the value of growth and mistakes or flops
    Recently heard the term we “fail
    Forward” and this post explores that as well!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We fail forward or fall forward, Yvette? Fail forward is an interestingly positive slant. I kind of like that way of thinking about it. Acknowledging the failure but that fundamentally it is still progress and we have learnt something.
      The post was inspired by a Stream of consciousness topic prompt at Linda Hill’s blog. Just kind of vomited all the words out! LOL. What does that say about me?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll tell
        You what that says about you – that out have some powerful encouragement to offer! That you have lived lie to grow (fail, fall, flow, flower – all The f’s!)
        And if you and Mabel are going to write a book with can’t like this – well
        You both will have a special offering to the world!
        But getting back to this post –
        You did a fine job of acknowledging the fall part or that humans still need to heal and cope to learn from mistakes – and you ended with the note about that harsh self-criticism
        And sometimes when I hear folks speak up about mistakes – it can be a soldier on mentality that forgets the need to heal – or worse – it is the victim and stick mentality – sigh
        So I felt that balance here that was realistic and it is a message folks need to eat again and again

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are always so kind and encouraging, Yvette. I am fortunate to have you comment on my blog with such inspiring words. I hope Mabel and I can get that book written, one day. I am not sure what you mean with the victim and stick mentality?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi – stick was supposed to be “stuck” – and I guess I see some
            Folks who don’t grow – or they cannot shake the mental filter of “woe is me” (or victim and problems are always someone else’s fault – which then hinders them from growth – it impairs accurate self awareness – etc
            Did that make sense?


            1. Oh yes it did, Yvette and thanks ever so much for the explanation. Stuck makes more sense. I should have realised that is what you meant! Thinking woe is me certainly stymies creative problem solving.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point, Alejandro. Not everything will work out. Many young people have still to work out that this is a great opportunity to develop. It won’t necessarily be easy, but it is an opportunity.


  3. Great insights! Sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective. You know what they say: “Beauty (or flaw) is in the eye of the beholder.”

    So nothing is inherently beautiful or flawed. It’s just how we look at it. And when we’re the ones doing the blunders, we can either see it as a learning lesson that’ll improve us, or a world-ending problem.

    Anyway, thanks for this post!


    1. Stuart, thanks for the comment. You get that mistakes and or failures are the learning tools we can utilize to advance our knowledge and experience. Nothing is inherently beautiful or flawed, as you said. It is just a matter of perspective and how we react to it.


  4. On point, Amanda. Glad to know that we’re on the same page. 🙂 And this is exactly what I always tell my boys. I’m always glad when they tell me about their mistakes or not-so-good decisions made during the day. They know I will not be (immediately) scolding but will instead try to help them find opportunities in those mistakes, because there will always be one or two. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally agree! Perfection is overrated and also, the definition keeps changing so keeping up is difficult. Instead of striving for perfection, I wish everyone would strive for inner peace and happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those who strive for perfection might become so stressed in that endeavour. Continual stress to be perfect will inevitably affect the body adversely the longer the stress continues. The immune system often suffers. Realising that they could be perfect IN THEIR OWN WAY might go some way towards eliminating that stress BEFORE it adversely affects the body. By the time age and the effects of stress are realised, that moment of realisation has, sadly, passed by.
      Striving for inner peace and happiness is a beautiful goal, Happy Panda.


  6. I feel sorry for those who can’t except their imperfections. I have a close friend who always has to be right even when it’s obvious that she is not. We are all flawed and, while it’s good to strive for improvement, the ability to laugh at oneself is important for our mental health. I get a lot of practice 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is no such thing as perfection simply because one person’s meat is another one’s poison – we all have our own view of perfection or even correctness and thus there’s no type of perfection which pleases everyone. I suppose that’s how we end up judging ourselves too harshly sometimes – because we fail to live up to (or get close enough to) our own idea of perfection. It’s one of those things that comes with age though, don’t you think..we get far less harsh on ourselves, and more understanding of our own limitations, as we get older.


    1. One of the fantastic things about aging, I absolutely agree, “we get far less harsh on ourselves, and more understanding of our own limitations”, and that is so liberating. We develop wisdom and a wider viewpoint from all our experiences. I love how you said, “there’s no type of perfection which pleases everyone.” Young people would benefit from believing this.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a very interesting post, Amanda. You do really get to the meat of the matte. It’s taken me a bit of time to comment on this one. The statement “We all begin life wanting to succeed, to achieve, to develop, to reach a level of contentment,” made me think. I began to think about the beginning of life and knowing that all my energy went into seeing my parents smile more than frown when they looked at me. I guess that’s where success starts. Did they smile or chastise? Then you develop cue following skills. If I do this it makes them happy, if I do that it brings on anger. If we get more smiles than frowns we are content that the time was successful. As for mistakes, they weren’t allowed until I got on my own. Now I build in an early mistake into most of what I do to ease the tension knowing it’s already done and subsequent mistakes can be easily handled. I’ll do it with quilting, embroidery, painting, even cooking or laundry. I know of NO ONE that is perfect or does everything perfectly. I’ve learned since I had children to cut myself some slack since I could easily do it for them. They will never be or do perfectly so why expect it? Thanks for making me think again.


    1. I love that you thought about my post, Marlene. Young children do seek the approval of their parents more than others. If they get only chastisement, I think they look to others, other things, or other ways, to get approval or, satisfaction.
      Do you think building in an early mistake, into activities, could actually enhance perfection as it takes all the pressure off to be totally perfect, allowing for relaxed development and fruition of ideas?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve let an early mistake stay just for that purpose. The Amish always put one in their work as a way to admit to imperfection. It was a long time coming for this perfectionist. Now I enjoy the process of many things more. I still strive for the best I can do, but no longer lay aside projects due to small slights in perfection. I have taken apart stitching many times to get points to be exact. I still am a fan of doing my very best but the perfection thing was making me crazy. I just say now that it’s Gut Genug. (good enough). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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