Guess what?! No… not chicken butt…I used to be self conscious about my eyebrows. Not a lot of guys admit to things like that. I used to hate how they didn’t connect like everyone else’s seemed too. Psst!… wanna hear another secret? I used to be self conscious about my lisp too. It really embarrassed me how everyone could easily pronounce S’s and the “TH” sound without difficulty. I also used to feel self conscious speaking different languages because I thought other people did it better than me and that I’d never really get good at learning languages. If you know me personally, reading these couple of things may have surprised you. It always surprises people when I tell them that these used to be things that made me feel self conscious at some point. Most people respond by saying that they never noticed any of these things before I brought them up aside from maybe my lisp for example. After they’ve taken all of this in they normally ask why I’d let such things bother me. This is exactly my point!
SOMETIMES OUR “FLAWS” ARE SUBJECTIVE
I put flaws in quotation marks because many(but not all) flaws are subjective. There’s nothing objectively wrong with having a slight gap in your eyebrows when you’re a kid, there’s nothing objectively wrong with having a lisp if it doesn’t impede communication and theres nothing wrong with struggling with a language spoken outside of the country you live in when you can speak your own native language and communicate with people without running into any problems. Some things are honestly very trivial, but WE add negative meaning to them and make them into big things and then beat ourselves up over them.
That’s exactly what I did with the three flaws that I mentioned above. A lot of other people have lisps, struggle with foreign languages or have weird looking eyebrows. Some of them feel bad about these things, but some don’t. Is this to say that no “flaw” is objectively bad? No. You should just take a deeper look at how you define your “flaws”
I want you to look at some of your “flaws” and ask yourself if you’d feel the need to judge or insult someone else for the same thing. I feel like most of you would not feel the need to do so. I don’t insult peoples lisps or language learning skills. Most of the time I don’t even notice. If you’re not noticing, then maybe they’re not noticing either. Which leads me to my next point
SOMETIMES ONLY WE NOTICE OUR “FLAWS”
Yes, its true. Have you ever had a conversation with somebody and in the middle of the conversation the other person throws something in like “I always hated the mark under my left eye. It makes me look so ugly” You then quickly, but discretely try to find the mark under the person’s eye to see what they’re talking about. You don’t really see anything, so you look closer while panicking that the person might notice your drifting attention. You find the small imperfection and think to yourself “Really? That small little imperfection? I hardly even noticed”. Or maybe it’s a cold day and you’re sitting at Starbucks in the middle of February and your friend complains about the ugly birth mark on their right toe and how it “ruins” the look of their foot. You wait like 5 months until you catch your friend slippin’ one day in flip flops and you look and see the small birthmark. You think to yourself “First of all, that birthmark looks kind of cool. I wish I had one and secondly, I can’t believe I waited 5 months to see this… I need new hobbies”.
My point is that were are often shocked when people reveal their perceived “flaws” to us because we don’t even see a lot of those things as flaws. Only the “Bearer” of the “flaws” does. We often see a lot of these things as trivial and unimportant and other people often feel the same way about ours. They often don’t even notice until we bring them up or point them out ourselves. Sometimes bringing them up can even have an annoying outcome; that person might start noticing the “flaw” more often or in general when they wouldn’t have even noticed it to begin with if you hadn’t said anything.
Sometimes, however, flaws actually ARE flaws. Everybody has areas of their lives that they can improve and everybody can improve themselves as well. I can and you can. I’m not trying to claim that flaws don’t exist or that we can be perfect just because we say we are. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn’t work that way. I do, however, want to emphasize the fact that we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over our perceived flaws if we can avoid it. If you’re unhealthy, you should try to improve your health (if you can). If you smoke and want to stop, go for it. Just try to avoid sweating the small things if you don’t have to.
The reason a lot of us worry so much about our perceived flaws is due to the fact that we’re all afraid of rejection and being hurt by other people because of our “flaws”. Fear of rejection is normal and everybody has insecurities, but remember sometimes we beat ourselves up over trivial things that other people don’t even notice and to make matters worse, sometimes we beat ourselves up about trivial things that nobody notices because we’re afraid that other people will notice. Doesn’t that sound crazy? Yes it does! I wish somebody had been around to tell me this when I was worried about my eyebrows and lisp as a kid.
I have a story for you guys!
Back in high school… I’m going to say around grade 9 or 10. I stopped exercising and started staying inside a little too much. I started living a very sedentary lifestyle and ate a giant Poutine every day. On some days I’d even have two. The poutines at my high school were FULL of calories. I remember seeing a notice on the cafeteria door one day saying that each poutine had more than 1100 calories in it. My unhealthy diet, combined with my daily poutine and sedentary lifestyle resulted in me gaining weight at a pretty fast rate and I ended up getting a surprise.. or surprises I should say. Can you guess what the surprises were? No they weren’t more poutines although that would have been a lovely albeit unhealthy surprise. They were stretch marks! Yay! Can you hear the sarcasm? Yup, I got stretch marks and I used to feel super self conscious about them. I saw them as such big flaws. I felt like everyone noticed them and they made me not want to wear clothes that would reveal them. I remember even trying a few different remedies that I found on google to try and get them to go away. They didn’t go anywhere. I was starting to lose hope in getting rid of them and was starting to realize that I’d just have to live with them until one day, something interesting happened…
I remember I was either in gym class or in the weight room around this time. A few people were wearing sleeveless shirts and I noticed that a few of the guys had stretch marks. None of them were trying to hide them and some of them wore their scars with pride. Nobody commented on them and nobody seemed to even notice. Why was I beating myself up about something that other people were proud of? It was all my perception! Nobody actually cared if I had stretch marks other than ME. Only I noticed the “flaw”
Remember, people don’t notice half of the things that we’re afraid of them noticing. Sometimes (not all the time), we worry about our insecurities and blow them out of proportion out of fear of rejection and being hurt by other people. Sometimes we do need to worry about our flaws, but sometimes we need to just look past them because they’re not as grandiose as we thought they were. Next time you beat yourself up over something that you perceive to be a flaw, just ask yourself “Is this really as important or negative as I’m making it seem to myself?” Sometimes the answer will be yes, but more often then we allow ourselves to believe, the answer will be No!
You got this! Don’t let trivialities stop you from becoming your best self!
This picture was taken in Barcelona, Spain.