Authenticity and Imperfection – An Introduction

In my first post last year I wrote how I planned on this blog to share the stories of my life on the “red road” of life. That concept was from my reading of David A Patterson Silver Wolf, the first American Indian professor in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, who wrote on his blog in 2011 that:

“Walking the Red Road is a determined act of living within the Creator’s instructions.  Basically, it is living a life of truth, humbleness, respect, friendship, and spiritually. Those on this road are by no means walking a perfect path, but are in search of self-discovery and instructions.”

This year I returned to my blog and declared I would “present my authentic, imperfect self”. I was encouraged by my reading of Brene Brown who in her book “Braving the Wilderness” wrote,

“True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance”.

Fellow blogger Suzanne on her site “Being In Nature” has written a series of posts on her quest to find “fulfilling ways to age”. Each of them can be read here:


A friend on Facebook who runs a business called “A Better You Naturally” posted this on her page:


“I love how Brene Brown talks about Perfectionism, and how it differs from ‘healthy striving’. Perfectionism comes from feeling the need to hide who we really are….to look perfect… act perfect….to live perfect……it’s a way of avoiding blame, pain and judgement. But sadly, it also stops us from truly connecting, and from feeling love and joy. Being Imperfect is being honest, authentic, and understanding that we’re all in this together, and when we embrace it, we’re never alone. I love the idea of “healthy striving” which comes from within, and asks…’how can I improve, for me?’……..not ‘What will others think of me and how can I please them?’ I have promised myself this year to strive for IMPERFECTION! So…..shall we be perfectly imperfect together?”

I say Yes, together we will all be perfectly imperfect because those words are not a contradiction, they are the same as the words “authentic, imperfect” self I wrote and lead to the word “belonging” Brene Brown mentions. In her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” Brene concludes that the “gifts of imperfection are courage, compassion and connection”. She goes on to say her book was written not so much as “self-help” but more of an invitation to:

“join a Wholehearted revolution, a small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘my story matters because I matter’. A movement where we can take to the streets with our messy, imperfect, wild, stretch-marked, wonderful, heartbreaking, grace-filled, joyful lives. A movement fueled by the freedom that comes when we stop pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t. A call that rises up from our bellies when we find the courage to celebrate those intensely joyful moments even though we’ve convinced ourselves that savouring happiness is inviting disaster.”

I’m there! My story matters because I matter and sharing that story brings connection in a way that enhances growth and freedom, not authority and control. Those two, authority and control, are the shadow side of authenticity and imperfection. I will develop that idea further in my next post.


3 thoughts on “Authenticity and Imperfection – An Introduction

  1. Thank you so much for linking to my site Jim. I really appreciate it.
    I like what you have written about how having the courage to reveal our imperfect selves actually reveals true authenticity. That’s a very profound thought that opens up all kinds of healing possibilities. Keep sharing your story – it matters and you matter. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I’m pleased you like that idea of authenticity being linked with imperfection. I’m going to explore that a little more and follow through on that notion of the shadow side being authority and control. I get the feeling our society is structured more on the shadow side.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s an interesting idea. In something I read recently (no idea where) I came across a similar idea. That way of being was labelled as the “False Self” and the authentic self was labelled as the “True Self”.

        Liked by 1 person

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