The Pursuit of Perfection

In a world where flawless images flood our screens and societal pressures loom large, it’s easy to fall into the enticing trap of perfectionism. The pursuit of perfection can seem alluring, promising a sense of worth and acceptance. Yet, beneath its shimmering facade lies a perilous path full of anxiety, self-doubt, and low self-esteem.  

Today, let’s embark on a journey of self-discovery, as we unravel the hidden dangers of perfectionism, empowering ourselves to embrace our imperfections, find our true worth, and live authentically in a world that celebrates our unique and beautiful selves. 

Lesson from an art student

Years ago, an art student attending Ohio Wesleyan approached me in my office to show a beautiful watercolor painting of hers. Her goal in her paintings was to find old, dilapidated barns and portray what she called “wabi sabi.” 

What the what? Now, I love sushi, so I know all about wasabi. But wabi-sabi? That was a new one. 

She told me again, and I still looked at her sideways.  

What is wabi-sabi?

The word “wabi-sabi” comes from a Japanese worldview centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. It’s described as one of appreciating beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete in nature.

When my daughter was little, she had a large gap between her two front teeth. Unsure of whether it would close, we consulted a dentist. We felt assured when the dentist talked about how the gap could be a mark of beauty. 

Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, who had all the money in the world believed his overbite was the secret to his success and talent. 

Barbara Streisand, an American singer and actress, shares how her imperfect, asymmetrical nose spared her from being sexually mistreated. 

Finding beauty in imperfection. That’s the essence of wab-sabi. 

So, if beauty is found in the imperfections of life, then why do we vain for perfection? 

Because perfection is celebrated throughout society.  

The problem is that the illusion of perfection often entraps us in a never-ending pursuit. This often leads to a high level of anxiety or depression and low levels of confidence and self-esteem.   

Letting go of perfection is the first step to finding freedom and embracing beauty in imperfection. 


Looking for the wabi-sabi in each person, place, and thing becomes the wonder and beauty found in reality.  

Think for a minute of a person you love. What are their quirks and unique expressions that don’t fit the concept of perfection? Maybe it’s a laugh, a smile, a scar, or posture. Like the art student moved by the beauty of old, delapitated barns, what are the imperfections that move you? 

Learn More

To learn more about embracing wabi-sabi as a lifestyle and grow in your confidence and self-esteem, feel free to check out the details of an upcoming workshop below.

Workshop Details

Goal: To grow with others in confidence and self-esteem through letting go of perfectionism.

Age: 15-24
Gender: Female

Duration: 4 weeks
When: Every Thursday starting July 6
Time: 7-8 PM
Location: 1480 Manning Pkwy, Powell, OH 43065

Available Spots: 12
Cost: $195 ($100 is due at the time of registration)

Cancellations: A full refund of the deposit will be given if the participant provides notice of cancellation at least 2 weeks prior to the first class.  If cancelled with less than 2 weeks notice, only 50% of the deposit will be refunded. No refunds will be given once the class begins.

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