CONSIDERING JAPANESE PARALLELS
For me, the use of flawsome fits in nicely with the Japanese, Buddhist based, philosophy of wabi-sabi. This acknowledges that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect, thereby embracing imperfection. Sitting neatly within this is the Japanese pottery art of kintsugi.
What do most of us do if we break a vase, a bowl, a plate – we usually throw it and buy a new one. All part of our throwaway society, which would probably have led to the offending article, even before it smashed, being thrown away sooner rather than later, to be replaced by a newer model. In kintsugi, the piece is, instead, mended using gold lacquer, with the cracks, what would usually be thought of as the flaws, being highlighted. The piece is therefore transformed into something beautiful and original. (You can now buy kits from Etsy to do this!). A win-win situation as you have saved sending stuff to a landfill and have a piece that can now give pleasure and become something to talk about. If beyond repair, the pieces will be converted into earrings and other pieces of jewellery. This, for me, has echoes of wartime stories when so much was re-cycled, re-used with maybe a different function. The original article could go through several life changes eg old metal bath tubs, once they could no longer be repaired in order to hold water would be used as a container for growing veg out in the yards of terraced houses. Things would be mended and re-mended, nothing was wasted.
NEGATIVE TEASING TURNED TO POSITIVITY
I believe that flawsome is a word first used in common parlance by supermodel Tyra Banks. She was, as a child, ‘teased’ for being too tall and thin. Subsequently, the tabloid press (don’t you just love them – NOT) took up the mantle of castigation by calling her ‘America’s next top Waddle’. She began to use the word flawsome to support other young women who were troubled with poor self-confidence. It described someone or something that is awesome (not in spite of, rather) because of their flaws. In fact, my own preferred use of flawsome covers both of these options in order to accept the flaws without putting undue emphasis on them. It supports self-acceptance, no matter what shape or size you are, or how others perceive that size… not someone who flogs themselves for hours in the gym, a size zero, a curvy woman, a man with a six pack, with a beer belly, a frail looking guy – it makes no difference – it’s about accepting the you that you are and being absolutely fine with that. Whether you have a flawless skin, have spots, the scars of former self-harm or surgery. However you have coped with what life has thrown at you and how it may have affected your mental health. The whole kit and caboodle of you!! By using the word flawsome we are accepting all shapes, sizes, colours, blemishes, flaws - sounds easy, but this acceptance will often take work to be able to feel totally comfortable with the concept as so often goes against what we have read, been told and told ourselves.
Turning your thinking around, it isn’t your body that is flawed, rather what you feel and believe about your body and yourself. You can hide behind make-up, spend a fortune on pots of chemicals described as the latest, best, most highly spoken about product that is amazing at stopping the ageing process, eliminating wrinkles. Some even resort to injections or to plastic surgery. So why do people always have to try more products, have further procedures? Simply because these can be masking a much deeper emotional rather than perceived physical problem.
Your main source of self-confidence is from within, not from your external shell. Accepting is so much more healthy though often requires support, this time through talking rather than slapping on stuff or going under the knife. Accept blemishes, signs of ageing and getting on with life and living, be flawsome. Stop being your own worst critic, be flawsome. A great gift to share with daughters, sons, parents, friends is to let them know that they too are flawsome. Accept and love.
How wonderful it would be if all who struggle with body dysmorphia could click over to this mind set, seeing themselves as flawsome. Instead of this, they see things about themselves that they really do not like. These things become exaggerated in their mind, they are their reality though unseen by others. Again, the problem lies within rather than on the loathed physical aspects of themselves.
PERFECTION SEEKING IN OTHER AREAS
The seeking for perfection invades other aspects of our lives. The supermarkets currently seek to provide standardised fruit and vegetables. The slightly different are shunned and binned, many tons being dug into the ground by farmers who know that they will not be accepted further along the food supply chain. Hopefully this is beginning to change and the equally nutritious curved cucumber, lop-sided lettuce or bent beans will be able to take their flawsome place amongst the currently perceived (?by whom?) superior compatriots on the shelves of our greengrocers and (main culprits) the supermarkets.Would the acceptance of genetically modified fruit and vegetables into the UK alter this? I sincerely hope we avoid that and that quirky veg can inhabit our fridges and chopping boards bringing a smile to our faces when we can see a pair of legs instead of a carrot!
The process continues into the seemingly on-going process of replacing, cars, televisions, phones, for a new model – thinner, brighter, faster, more expensive, whatever. Sadly, this attitude is one which many teens, and even younger children, seem to be growing up with. It troubles me. I’m afraid that I work on the theory of it if it isn’t broken, don’t mend it – or get rid of it. I think I would shudder at the sight of many Christmas wish lists.
The concept of beauty, of perfection, is a moveable feast, so one that is difficult to attempt to match up to. The pictures of perceived beautiful women seen in magazines have been air brushed to eliminate blemishes, flesh that is thought of as being ‘fat’ anything to improve the overall impression of the outside of that person.Trends and fashions changeover the years and there are cultural, ethnical differences. I equate this to an orchid – to many people a beautiful flower. To some, yes, a beautiful flower, shame about the long bare stem that needs to be supported by stakes. Maybe that can be masked by growing another plant in there to cover this? To others, who are struggling to grown enough food in dry, poor soil, an orchid would be seen as a weed that is using up vital nutrients required for growing a little food. Same plant, different views.
DON’T FORGET THE CONCEPT OF UNIQUENESS
We need to accept that, in truth, few things, if any, are actually perfect and that concepts of said perfection are not universal. It is in fact the imperfections that make us unique. Yes, we still need to aim to better ourselves in whatever way we feel appropriate, but endeavour to include in this aspects of self-acceptance and emotions rather than simply external betterment. We have to accept that we will never please everyone, but we need to endeavour to please and accept ourselves in our flawsomness.
Don’t waste time and energy seeking perfection that doesn’t exist as you are bound to fall short. You will always be changing the goal posts, or having them changed for you by a new product being marketed. Brene Brown wrote a book on the subject – ‘The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to be and Embrace Who You Are.’ In other words, be flawsome – the ‘supposed to be’ bit is a false concept anyway, setting unattainable expectations. Far better,just as in the kintsugi pottery, aiming not to eliminate or hide imperfections, or reject things or people who may be broken, rather celebrate these attributes as part of what makes each of us a unique human being.
To achieve this, you need to forget two words that we tend to use far too often – ‘if’ and ‘should’. If only I could look like **** (insert any ‘star’ or ‘celebrity’ here) when in fact, the real you isin all likelihood so much better, it’s just that you aren’t having your every move lauded and spoken of in the tabloid press or in the celeb magazines.The past shoulds – well, how many of you beat yourself up with ‘I should have done this or that’? None of us are blessed with hindsight, though we can learn from things that didn’t work out for us. The future shoulds – if they are your choice, fine, though that is rarely the way they are. However, if they are what you feel you should do when measured against others, then lose the shoulds! I have worked with so many clients who littered their time with me with shoulds and got out the big stick to beat themselves with when they didn’t match up to their own expectations. Leave the shoulds behind, they don’t really belong to you in the first place. They are imposed by others – personally known or unknown to you! Be you. Be flawsome.
It is great to have a big positive in your life, such as being good at a profession, a craft, a skill, being a great parent, a great carer, whatever; but even better is to be able to look at yourself in a totally non-judgemental way, be true to yourself and who you are …… and admire just how bloomin’ flawsome you are.
Be able to say, in response to the question in the title, yes, I am flawsome.
I love the song and video about the pug, Loca. She embodies being flawsome as she gets on with those around even though may be seen as ‘different’ and is also loved and accepted, obviously as flawsome, by her family – do click through and check it out.
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