Feeling good about who you are as a woman is not always easy.
Looking in the mirror and loving what you see is a process of building self-esteem. It’s learning to understand how our flaws can be perceived as failures, even when we have no control over them. This perception of failure affects our minds, body image, and confidence. It creates the toxic energy of shame about who we are. This shame follows us into the office, the boardroom, the interview, relationships, and the marriage.
Our perception of imperfection influences our sense of worthiness. Even though a flaw may be small, our insecurities can allow it to take center stage.
In the past, I’ve struggled with accepting myself for who I am, what I look like, how I talk, and what I’ve been through. I spent years figuring out how to love myself, accept my flaws, and my unique experiences. The journey wasn’t easy, but today I’ll share part of my journey to loving and believing in the “Perfectly Imperfect” me.
As a child, I wasn’t told that I was beautiful, but I remember always wanting to be.
I would see other girls in school with long flowing hair, nice clothes, and pretty teeth. Oh yeah, the teeth used to be a thing for me. I have a gap right in the middle of my two front teeth for everyone to see. This gap was a source of insecurity during my youth. I used to feel so insecure that I wouldn’t smile showing my teeth and if I laughed in public, I would cover my mouth. Yes, it was bad.
I longed for pretty teeth, which meant the gap would have to go. I believed that having perfect teeth would make me happier. If I could just have perfect teeth, I would be more outgoing and acceptable to others. My life would be so much easier with a flawless smile. If I could get braces to close my gap, I could open my mouth without shame or insecurity.
I believed that fixing this flawed part of me would make my life much better, and it would make me more valuable.
For those of you who have seen my pictures and my smile, you know that I still have a gap. The gap was not what needed fixing. What needed a makeover was my self-esteem, self-worth, mindset, and understanding of who I am in my perfect imperfections.
Today, I smile with boldness and confidence.
I laugh with my mouth uncovered and my gap has talked in rooms that I never thought I would be in. This gap of mine has had conversations with leaders and high-achievers who don’t see flaws. They see confidence, knowledge, wisdom, and my ability to help them.
Do you know why they see the confidence and not the gap? It’s because that is who I have become.
What happened was, when I started believing in myself all parts of me were better. All parts of me became an asset and tool for teaching and reaching women. Once I recognized the best parts of me, I was able to offer that version to others.
What is your “gap?” What are the perceived flaws that you hide from the world in fear of being rejected?
Your “gap” may be your weight, height, hair texture, skin color, acne, your upbringing, or another area that hinders how you show up. You may believe that until you close that gap, you can’t achieve a certain level of success or be acceptable. I’m here to challenge that.
I’m here to tell you today, that it’s not the gap…it’s your perception of the gap. The only way to be the best version of yourself is to understand and embrace your flaws. That layer of unique imperfection allows you to share your story and glory as no one else can.
You see, your gap gives you the ability to connect with people who share that imperfection or can relate to it. You can reach them in a way that others can’t. You can provide insight, lessons, and a perspective that’s unique to your experience, and that’s an asset.
It’s not the gap ladies. It’s the fact that we have been conditioned to see our flaws as faults.
Before I conclude today, here are four strategies that I have used and teach other women, as they embrace their imperfections. The FLAW acronym will make it easier for you to remember.[F]ocus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. [L]ove yourself unconditionally, and display this through self-loving behaviors. [A]ffirm who you are by practicing positive self-talk that counteracts your internal critic. [W]elcome opportunities to learn from mistakes instead of running from failure.
Embracing our imperfections and building our self-esteem isn’t easy, but it’s worth the investment. When we show up with confidence as an accessory, our brilliance is magnified.