Love is one of the most complex and beautiful emotions that humans experience. It is often portrayed in movies, books, and music as this perfect, magical feeling that makes everything right in the world. However, the reality of love is far from perfect. In fact, whether we are talking about self-love, intimate love, family love or platonic love, it's often messy, complicated, and imperfect.
Imperfections in love is the love of the human condition. It's about loving someone for who they are, even if they don't fit the idealized notion of perfection. This type of love is real, raw, and often much more meaningful than the fantasy of perfect love. It permits you to consider your true needs versus idealized needs and allows you to craft something that is perfect for you and the person(s) you are choosing to have a relationship with.
The fear of judgment is what often gets in the way of deep connection.
One of the most significant aspects of love is acceptance. When we love someone and we acknowledge their imperfections, we are starting with a place of acceptance. We recognize their humanity, the mistakes that they make, the ways that they show up that fall short and even their ideals that are not in alignment with ours. This type of acceptance creates a sense of security and comfort in the relationship, as both people feel comfortable being their true selves without fear of judgment.
The fear of judgment is what often gets in the way of deep connection. Fear of judgment will make someone want to withhold parts of themself from you, out of fear of rejection. Judgment says “there is something wrong with you, because of what you are doing.” When someone does not feel comfortable being their true self, you will always feel as though there is disconnection from them, because there will be pieces of them that you do not know and aspects of their behavior that may also catch you off guard.
It is important to note here that judgment is different from accountability. Accountability allows you to communicate the impact that someone's actions have on you and it allows each of you to decide how you want to proceed with the relationship. Accountability makes room for acknowledgement and acceptance, and allows the other person to make decisions for themselves about their behavior. Judgment makes no room for acceptance, it is simply requiring change.
We fear acceptance because we believe that it will create the risk of harm. We believe that if we accept a person's behaviors then we will open ourselves up to harm over and over again. Emotionally or physically harmful behaviors may require you to engage boundaries, so it is important to differentiate when you need to engage boundaries versus behaviors that are simply not ideal. When we want to engage firm boundaries then judgment may be necessary. When we are looking to develop closeness and intimacy, it is important to recognize that acceptance is necessary.
Accepting that flaws are not grounds to deny love
How you love others, often correlates to how you love yourself. Accepting that flaws are not grounds to deny love, allows you to extend Grace to yourself as you extend Grace to others. When you believe that perfection is required for love, that principle is carried out in how you relate to others and yourself. It is where the inner critic comes from and shows up in your self talk, diminished self esteem and your own limited growth.
Acceptance makes room for growth. It allows you to both see what the flaws are, acknowledge them, decide what you can commit to while still engaging with love (self-love or love with others) and you are soothed enough to get curious and creative about opportunities for growth. When we feel loved and accepted, we are more likely to communicate our thoughts and needs. We are free to explore, knowing that if we do not get it “right” then we still have a place to come to that is accepting. Exploration is the key to growth. Growth is key for sustaining love. Fear and anger are the energies of stagnation and prevent growth. In fact those energies can kill love because they are closed and love requires openness to grow.
When you love someone fully, and accept them as they are, you are able to appreciate the unique qualities that make them special. You can focus on the qualities that you love about them, rather than trying to change them to fit some idealized notion of the perfect partner. This type of love is more meaningful, as it is based on genuine feelings and not just some fantasy. It also gives you permission to be you, fully and flawed, in the relationship. When you allow yourself to be open to accepting others, you are more likely to accept yourself as well, because you can see areas for true connection and vulnerability. After all, loving someone who is perfect places them on a pedestal and that places them far away from you.
In conclusion, love that accepts imperfections is a beautiful and real type of love that is worth embracing. It is about accepting, growing, forgiving, and appreciating the person we love, flaws and all. By embracing the imperfections of those you love, you can build stronger and more meaningful relationships with others and yourself that are sustainable, fulfilling and perfect for you!