What do you think of when you hear “perfection“? I used to think perfection was my goal. In fact, when I was much younger I labeled myself a perfectionist and I would tell people this with pride. Sometimes I would fain the “ugh life is so hard for me because my standards are so high, because I’m a perfectionist” but it was all an act. In reality, I wanted to be a perfectionist. Because I wanted to be perfect.

(Special thanks for Parfait for making this imperfection post possible. Read more about why I partnered with them at the bottom of this post)Kimmay wears Parfait in the Beauty of Imperfection Hurray Kimmay blog post.Style notes: I’m wearing the Carole Wire Bra and matching Hipster in Imperial Purple in size 32DD and Medium from Parfait. So decadent and supportive! More info on this brand at the bottom of this post.

I thought being perfect meant never missing the mark, it meant my work ethic was amazing, it meant the work I was doing in the world (even if it was just homework, or retail work) would be the best. I prided myself on being a hard worker. I wanted people to know that I put in extra effort to get things not just done, but done right. Does this sound familiar? Even just a little bit? Great. Keep reading.

“Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Kimmay wears Parfait and explores the Beauty of Imperfection in the Hurray Kimmay blog post.Style notes: I’m wearing the Carole Wire Bra and matching Hipster in Imperial Purple in size 32DD and Medium from Parfait. Can we say, divine? YES. More info on this brand at the bottom of this post.

This need to be perfect spread throughout different areas of my life as a student, friend, girlfriend, employee, daughter, and more. It affected how I talked to myself. It fed a nasty story that I was telling myself over and over again: “I am not enough.” I kept striving to do more, be better, be enough. What started as a value of productivity turned into a need to produce more and more because what I had done was never enough. This meant constant striving and improving and doing. This, friends, cost me big time. It lead me to make unhealthy choices when it came to my body and my mind. In a very imperfect list, here are some things perfection lead to for me:

  • I dropped down to an unhealthy weight
  • I had horrible cramps and PMS
  • I took a birth control to stop my period (for seven years)
  • I had migraines
  • I did not celebrate my successes or enjoy the present
  • I had floating anxiety, and at the worst points, I was having panic attacks twice a week
  • I was stressed and grouchy, always on edge
  • I beat myself up emotionally for messing up
  • My self esteem plummeted
  • I pushed my body and mind too far
  • I had zero downtime to relax
  • I was afraid to take risks because I may fail or embarrass myself
  • I had shingles. Twice.

This is a pretty tragic list, and it’s not even complete. There’s more, I’m sure. But in my new way of being, I know this is enough to share with you. That’s because I know I am enough. More on that soon.

Kimmay wears Parfait and celebrates the Beauty of Imperfection in the Hurray Kimmay blog post.Style notes: I’m wearing the Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra and the matching hipster in size 32DD and Medium from Parfait. Such a show stopping set. More info on this brand at the bottom of the post!

My perfectionism affected more than just how I thought of or related to myself. Because I was holding myself to such high standards, I was also holding others to them as well. Even if I told myself I wasn’t, that was a giant lie. Because I couldn’t forgive myself for not being perfect, I couldn’t forgive others. I had a really hard time forgiving friends or boyfriends who messed up. I judged classmates who didn’t get it right. I sighed at co-workers who just couldn’t pick up things as quickly as I could. It was a pretty un-hurray way to live, inside, outside, and … underneath.

Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis… Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?”

 

― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Underneath, I was the most harsh on my body. I criticized my figure for never being perfect enough. I compared my body to that of the bodies I saw in magazines, and the airbrushed perfection I witnessed. It wasn’t until I became a bra fitter in 2005 and saw naked women in the fitting rooms that I even realized my idealized view of the perfect figure did not exist. I saw every kind of body in that bra fitting room: supermodels, moms of four, pregnant women, young and old, after cancer or surgery, and more. I saw their beauty and their imperfections, and realized the two things were not mutually exclusive. Bras and the bra fitting rooms of New York City were my first step in talking kinder to my body, and realizing that my striving for perfection was unkind, and unnecessary.

Kimmay wears Parfait in the Beauty of Imperfection Hurray Kimmay blog post. Style notes: I’m wearing the Charlotte Padded Bra and the matching high waist brief in size 32E and Medium from Parfait. I love this retro set! More info on this brand at the bottom of this post.

Another recent lesson in the beauty of imperfection came from nature. I have traveled all over the world on my #HurrayVacay trips (like to Hawaii here!), and to National Parks with my honey, and beyond. And every time I’m in nature, I am in complete awe of the vast mountains, stunning seascapes, or gorgeous earth before me. We don’t criticize the Grand Canyon for not being perfect. Its rough edges and many layers are part of what make it beautiful. And the same divine being that made this beautiful landscape and created nature, made us. The Grand Canyon, and we, are not mistakes or screw ups. We were created with intention and love and beauty. And just like the ridges of the Grand Canyon are part of its beauty, our humanity and imperfection are part of our beauty.

Kimmay wears Parfait in the Beauty of Imperfection Hurray Kimmay blog post. Hurray!Style notes: I’m wearing the Charlotte Padded Bra and the matching high waist brief in size 32E and Medium from Parfait. Pin up alert, right?? More info on this brand at the bottom of this post.

Want to know the gooood stuff? Here’s what letting go of perfectionism gifted to me:

  • I am more capable of forgiving myself
  • I recognize my hurrays
  • I am much more present
  • I slow down and create space for creativity and rest
  • I am able to take bigger, bolder risks and not fear failure
  • I am in a loving relationship with my body
  • My self esteem and self confidence are much higher
  • I am far more understanding and compassionate with myself and others
  • I have much more patience
  • It feels safer to be my true self
  • I love myself so much more than before
  • I am far happier and saying hurray inside, outside, and underneath!

Kimmay wears Parfait and gives tips on the Beauty of Imperfection in the Hurray Kimmay blog post.Style notes: I’m wearing the Casey Plunge Molded Bra and matching brief in sizes 32DD and Medium in this pretty print from Parfait. Oh so darling, and a fab fit! More info on this brand at the bottom of this post.

I won’t pretend to be the perfect kind of imperfect, either. I am still learning. I still strive for perfection and fear failure from time to time. My old stories creep up quite often to say “you’re doing it wrong” or “you’re not enough” or “if you fail they won’t love you.” I fully admit it. The great thing, though, is that I accept that part of me now. I don’t judge it as bad or wrong. I know that I am doing the best I am able to right now, with the learning and experience and capacity that I have now. As with anything, embracing our imperfection takes practice.

Kimmay wears Parfait lingerie in the Beauty of Imperfection Hurray Kimmay blog post.Style notes: I’m wearing the Casey Plunge Molded Bra and matching brief in sizes 32DD and Medium in this pretty print from Parfait. Oh so darling, and a fab fit! More info on this brand at the bottom of this post.

5 Ways to Practice Imperfection 

1. Try Something New. Being a beginner at something is great practice for embracing your imperfection. Being a novice is nothing to be ashamed of, and you can practice being less hard on yourself for not being perfect because you’re still learning. Find the joy in what it’s like to explore and try and fail and try again and learn and laugh and not be so consumed by having to do it right. Take that understanding with you to other parts of our life. Because we are all always still learning.

2. Go With the Flow. Often times perfectionism and control go hand in hand. I’m a planner and a goal maker (#Capricorn) and if things didn’t go the way I planned (aka perfectly) I used to get really upset. This is still something I’m actively working on, and I’ve already seen the benefits of practicing going with the flow. When it started raining in Hawaii during this photo shoot, we went with it and adjusted our plans as needed. In fact, we left some plans up to mother nature and our guide, Tina, and decided to shoot along the way as we found new spots. It was a mixture of structure and flow and a wonderful way for me to practice imperfection, because in the end, look at the beautiful shots we got, and how much fun we had!

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabisabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” and that “nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect”. {Source}

3.  Forgive Yourself. Remember that voice that says “you’re not enough” or “you are such a failure”? It’s not true. You’re having a misunderstanding. And you can forgive yourself for a misunderstanding. Practicing compassionate self forgiveness has been a major game changer in my own journey of embracing the beauty of my imperfection. I learned it from one of my coaches and I walk my coaching clients through this practice regularly. Learn more about how to lovingly forgive yourself and try my recorded meditation for it. It’s such a beautiful way to let go of judgement and comparison, and embrace the truth.

4. Be Vulnerable. Letting people see the true and authentic you, and not just the perfect version, takes guts. It’s also really worth it. Practice taking off the mask you show to others and let people see who you really are, what’s really up, and how you really feel. This can be tricky to start –  I know from experience and my coaching clients – so start small. It can be revealing to a good friend or a coach that you’re struggling with thoughts of “I’m not enough”, or letting your Facebook friends know you’re feeling blue and not-so-perfect today. The more you practice this, the easier it will become to show up authentically as you without the fear of being unloved. And having the freedom to show up fully as your true self is, trust me, a big way to say hurray.

5. Go Bra Shopping: Not even kidding. This is such a powerful exercise in letting go of perfection. It’s why a bra fitting is often my sharpest tool as a coach. Because bra measurements will help you calculate bra size starting points, and these points are just a suggestion. There is no such thing as a perfect measurement and a perfect bra – in fact, I can wear 9 different sizes that all fit. Finding a bra that fits well and feels great requires some trial and error, some education, and some self compassion and understanding. It’s also an opportunity for you to practice letting go of being a perfect size, or a perfect measurement. Remember what I say in the #MoreThanMyNumbers project: numbers are information, not a definition. And maybe it’s also a chance to look in the mirror and see your body as beautifully imperfect.

{PS: Want some bra shopping help? You have a chance to win a year of lingerie below!}

Kimmay wears Parfait in the Beauty of Imperfection Hurray Kimmay blog post. What are your views on perfection?Style notes: I’m wearing the Carole Hipster in Imperial Purple from Parfait in a size Medium.

IMPORTANT: Want to know something that made me say hurray? Upon my quick and imperfect Google search, I found that the word “perfection” comes from the latin word, “perficere”, which means “to complete.” Which makes perfect (hehe) sense. Because you are complete. You are whole. There is nothing that you need to do, or be, or say, or feel, or think in order to be enough.You are enough. As it turns out, you are perfect.

You are whole. There is nothing that you need to do, or be, or say, or feel, or think in order to be enough.You are enough. As it turns out, you are perfect.

Your Turn: What does “perfect” mean to you? How can you let go of a perfectionism and embrace being perfectly imperfect? How is striving for perfectionism holding you back – what is it stopping you from? In what ways are you already embracing imperfection and how does it feel to do so? Can you find the beauty in imperfection?

Credits: The photos in this article were taken by Becky Yee during the #HurrayVacay in Hawaii. Part of me practicing my own imperfect beauty is my commitment to zero airbrushing of my body and face. Always. What you see here is real. My beauty, my stretch marks, my rolls, my love and all. Special thanks to Tina.

Hurray for Parfait Giveaway! Enter for a year of lingerie!

Want to win a year of lingerie? Enter my giveaway with Parfait! Learn more about this fabulous brand below, and enter to win by March 21st. Hurray for lingerie!

Super excited to say a big hurray for the sponsor of this post: Parfait Lingerie! You’ve been seeing me wearing this brand throughout this post, but I’ve known their products for a long time. I have fit hundreds if not thousands of people into Parfait bras, including some of the styles you see here. In fact, the Charlotte bra, which I’m wearing here in black, was a best seller for me as a bra fitter. Not just because it’s super cute, and a super great price (about $42), but also because of it’s structured support up to K cup! Hurray, indeed. Here’s some more about this brand: Styles range from bras and briefs to non-wire bralettes and babydolls, and now even sports bras to nursing bras. This brand is committed to size-inclusivity, so Parfait collections are available in an expansive size range of 28-44 bands, A-K cups, and XS-4XL bottoms (varying by style). They get that the term #PerfectFigure applies to everyone. We are all perfect figures (people) with perfect figures (bodies). YES! And, they’re focused on fit (with a dash of fashion) for sure.

Sizing notes: This brand uses UK sizing, and I’m wearing a 32DD in most of the styles here, and a medium bottom. In my opinion, Parfait uses firm materials and underwires in most of their styles, meaning they can run a bit tighter or feel more rigid than other brands. I love the super support! Try it out and see how it feels for you.

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PS: Parfait collections have been worn by top actresses, models and performers around the world including Sofia Vergara, Sharon Stone, Nicki Minaj, Ashley Graham, Nicole Scherzinger, Gabrielle Union, Alicia Silverstone, and yours truly. Want to try Parfait for yourself? Enter my giveaway by March 21st or find where to shop for your favorite style on their website or in your local boutique.