Gifts of Imperfection:: Finding Beauty in the Brokenness

March 19, 2015  •  4 Comments

With Spring around the corner…well literally only a day away, the new leaves and blooms blossoming always makes me introspective and gives me many analogies to different areas of life…

I sometimes talk about brokenness and in being broken there is a beauty that shines through…however I don’t think everyone truly believes this.  Hiding our areas of weakness and vulnerability is often our innate response.

We strive to be perfect, and to only portray the best of ourselves.  But what happens when you share the darker side of yourself….I find I am guarded in that area yet when trust is built and authenticity is shared,  those broken pieces seem to be something I can admit, even cherish, and somehow there is healing and strength in it all.

The struggle of authenticity…being who I am, not who I am expected to be has been on my mind a lot lately.  I am blessed with a few friends that I can share these bits of life with.  It never ceases to amaze me the healing that happens when openly sharing,  even when it’s with someone who is on the opposite sides of the fence.  Somehow there are still many points of our experiences that relate and after sharing a new perspective, there is understanding and things makes sense.

It has challenged me to forgive at a deeper level than I may have ever known if I hadn’t experienced moments of barrenness and that void of needing something ‘more’.

I have clients that have let me in to deeper sides of them…sharing real stories of struggle that make their photos I take even more meaningful.  Within these  struggles I see a joy, a perseverance that shows me it’s not about perfection but about hope and pressing forward AND has pushed me TO BE the more real me…sometimes crass, sometimes not that funny and most often not that perfect. 

My house is ‘lived in’, it’s not a museum.  I don’t take my makeup off at night, and sometimes I count it a major success if I fit in time to shower.  I have judged people for their hair or tattoos, YET had huge hair at one time in my life and have tattoos myself.   I sometimes cry for what seems like no reason.  I am impatient with my kids AND I don’t always leave room for my husband to share his feelings while mine seem to billow out endlessly when simply asked ‘how was your day!?’

In all of this I am learning about compassion.  Compassion means to suffer with.   When my first response is to self protect or judge.  I am reading about compassion being a relationship between equals, not a healer and the wounded. 

Only when we know our own darkness can we be present in the darkness of others.  To forgive ourselves and to extend forgiveness…real forgiveness not just surface words with no experience of what it REALLY is!

A friend shared with me yesterday from the book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown.

‘Our stories are not meant for everyone.  Hearing them is a privilege and we should always ask ourselves before sharing “who has the right to hear my story?”  If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky.  If we have a friend or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerability and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging we are again incredibly lucky.   If we are working toward relationships based in love, belonging and story, we have to start in the same place:: I am worthy.’.

Compassion is real when we realize our shared humanity...


Paul Montmeny(non-registered)
"only when we know our own darkness can we be present in the darkness of others"... So true. Great post Arlene!!!
What a beautiful, beautiful message. Thank you for sharing with us!
Janet Walker(non-registered)
So authentic.... So beautiful....
I love you for sharing this and I believe you are this friend to me!!!
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