When I was 25, I was working in customer service at a children’s hospital and the chaplin stopped by on her way into the unit to see a patient. We started talking about Christmas and she told me, that instead of presents, she asks for botox money. I was surprised because I thought she was young for something like that- maybe in her early 40s. And she said, you gotta start early! She pointed to my forehead, just between my eyebrows and said, “That will be your trouble spot.” I did what I do as a southern lady when I feel uncomfortable; I smiled and said to have a good day.
After she left, I went to the bathroom mirror to take a look at my “Trouble spot.” I added it to the mental list of imperfections I already had going: My weak chin, my excess of weight, my drab hair color, and my too-small too-pointy nose among others. I hated these things.
Luckily, there are many widely available solutions to my problems. Wrinkle creams, surgical options, exercise bikes that make the pounds fly away AND make me look younger. I can purchase the change I want for like 3 low payments of 19.99.
It wasn’t just the well-meaning chaplin who pointed out my flaws. The information was everywhere, surrounding me. The easiest example to point out is advertising. It’s all built to make me think if I buy this thing or workout with this new machine, my life will transcend the human plane and I will be inundated with the feeling of everlasting happiness.
These ads tell me again and again 500 times a day: I am not good enough. I should be more than I am. I should continually strive for perfection- botox those wrinkles away.
It’s no wonder I believed those messages. According to Red Crow marketing, the average person sees or hears 4,000- 10,000 ads a day. Frankly, That sounds insane, but even the lowest estimates say we see and hear 500 ads.
So what if I stopped listening to the world’s constant barrage of “You aren’t good enough” and I started trying to listen to a truer voice, one that accepts and loves me just as I am with all my trouble spots?
That changed everything.
When I stopped trying to be something else, I could be me. I could look in the mirror and see myself as I God created me, “flaws” and all. Instead of trying to iron out my differences, I started to love them. I started to lean into the things that made me unique, the things that set me apart.
I’m not trying to be anyone else’s idea of perfect anymore. I am just trying to be me.
And that turned my “flaws” into a kind of super-power.
Loving my imperfections, makes me able to love imperfection in others. It makes me less susceptible to the advertisers, it makes me embrace parts of myself that I spent a lot of energy and time rejecting.
What are your trouble spots and what would it look like to truly embrace your imperfections?
Guest post by Andrea Turner Burke, dear friend since high school and all-around cool chick. She is a writer and filmmaker who lives in Nashville. Learn more about her here.