Have you considered the concept of being flawesome?

The remedy to perfectionism, being flawesome is a concept that is embraced by author Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani in her book, Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life, as well as her podcast, Flawesome With Kristina.

The Estonia-based writer, entrepreneur, international speaker, artist, and philanthropist is co-founder of the life transformation platform Mindvalley – which currently has a following of 20 million and counting – and has interviewed more than 200 specialists in the psychology and self-development fields.

Now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s dive into it.

Firstly, what is perfectionism?

Most of us will not only recognise perfectionism but have likely struggled in pursuit of it at one time or another in our lives.

Defined as the refusal to accept any standard short of being immaculate, perfectionism is the unattainable expectation which can damage our physical and mental health and wellbeing, self-esteem and overall quality of life.

The perfectionist itch is often aggravated by external factors such as societal pressure, expectations set by family members and difficult living circumstances.

Some key findings about perfectionism include:

Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani says that, for some individuals, perfectionism is a state of being and these people can display both positive and negative traits.

The positive traits of a perfectionist can include ambition, attention to detail and high aspirations. On the flip side, perfectionists can become quickly overwhelmed by their own high standards and begin to engage in self-sabotaging behaviours such as procrastination.

What does it mean to be flawesome?

In Kristina’s, “The concept of being flawesome is recognising that you are imperfect, which is a natural state of being. Rather than trying to ‘fix’ your imperfections, you’re embracing the fact they exist and figuring out a way to turn your perceived flaws into advantages.

“It’s undeniable that your imperfections are a part of you. So, the goal isn’t to get rid of your flaws because perfection is unattainable. The key is to adapt to living with them and using them to your benefit. It’s so important to adopt the idea of being flawesome in both our personal and professional lives because naturally, when we don’t accept a part of ourselves, we place ourselves in a state of resistance, which in turn drains a lot of our energy, focus, and resources.”

Kristina says that Western definitions of success and perfectionism seem to push the idea that to experience true meaning in your life, you need to be successful (typically meaning financially successful). She believes there is a general expectation that “because of that, you need to prioritise outer success over your own well-being. And many Westerners seem to have this belief that they must experience sacrifice to achieve success and that success is built on some form of struggle”.

These are the steps recommended by Kritsina to escape the perfectionist trap and embrace being flawesome:

  1. Identify whether your perfectionism is an intrinsic trait or whether you’ve adopted perfectionist tendencies because of the environment you exist in.
  2. Don’t try to ‘slay the dragon’ (attempt to get rid of the trait altogether). Instead, focus on increasing your tolerance for failure, embracing your mistakes and viewing them as key learning lessons, and adopting a more philosophical approach to things that make you feel imperfect.
  3. Practice reframing criticism as feedback, rather than judgement.
  4. Practice self-compassion and kindness by taking critical statements about yourself and replacing them with thought-provoking questions that focus less on judgement. (Example: You are unable to complete a project. Shift your mentality from ‘I have failed’, to ‘What can I do differently to succeed in the future?’)

The additional good news about all of this is that the kinder you are to yourself, the more thoughtful you will be to other people.

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