There are times when our reflection in the mirror holds us back. Due to insecurities attached to our appearance, we tend to forget that at no time is the package more critical than the content. This is true in both our professional and personal lives.
Embracing your imperfections is a sign of a mature self-consciousness. Despite vanity and what popular media tries to portray as the ideal body or face type, your mirror reflection is not something you can relate to forever, as it is subject to constant change. You certainly wouldn’t feel doomed by fate if you had a zit; likewise, even if it sounds extravagant, if you have good health, a good appearance and a perfect body, those aren’t here to stay forever, either.
I had a coachee once who, no matter how successful she was in her work, despaired when she saw herself in the mirror. When I asked her why she only focused on her body’s flaws and disadvantages, she replied that no one cared for a smart woman unless she was also pretty. While this is partially true in a world where materialization and objectification are top priorities, no one can carry your load instead of you — no matter how insignificant you deem yourself. Even the most attractive woman could not do what you do, and even the most genius mind could not handle everyday chores precisely the way you do.
Being significantly different is not a curse; it’s a gift, depending on the way you choose to handle your uniqueness. Those characteristics that differentiate you from others are the ones that do not pile you up with the rest. Sure, you could find another accountant, secretary, trainer or lawyer as successful as you, but under no circumstances could that person deliver the same results as you.
So how can you embrace your imperfections?
• Start with a smile. Stand in front of your mirror, and smile at your reflection, ignoring the doubts and insecurities your ego is trying to project. Welcoming your image with a genuine smile softens self-judgment and severe criticism, and it’s the first step toward embracing your image. Practice the mirror exercise every day.
• Talk to yourself using positive affirmations. Whisper a unique phrase that lifts your spirit every time you need encouragement. Remember that you are your own most valuable ally.
• Stay away from toxic environments that hold you back from expressing yourself because such environments undermine your efforts to grow. Do not let toxic individuals project their reservations and fears on you, and be aware that you can find this kind of environment even among your loved ones.
• Accept and be accepted. You can’t expect anyone to welcome your uniqueness if you are not receptive to diversity as well. If you do not judge or criticize others, people will be less severe toward you.
• Evolve and improve. Being unique isn’t an excuse to stay back and indulge in failure. If you lack something, whether that’s professionally or personally, try to fill in the gaps and be the person you want to be.