28th February 2020

It would seem the pursuit of perfection is an ever-increasing goal for many.

Whilst striving to be our personal best has always been a timeless aspiration, it would seem some of us have adopted the definition of personal best as ‘perfect’, and what once was fuelled by encouragement and inspiration is now being driven by unrealistic expectations.

In a study conducted in 2019, Simon Sherry and Martin M Smith defined perfectionism as the ‘striving for flawlessness’. Whilst noble in its intentions, this unrealistic expectation of life, or parts thereof, often renders us sensitive to criticism and plagued by self-doubt. 

But there’s a gentler way. Wabi-sabi.

Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese philosophy of accepting your imperfections and making the most of everything, not despite the imperfections, but because of them.

Wabi-sabi invites us to focus on rustic simplicity and encourages us to take pleasure in the imperfect. It teaches us to understand and accept ourselves, imperfections and all. It calls us to be compassionate with ourselves just as we are, whilst all the while building on what is.

Many Japanese artisans embrace the idea of wabi-sabi by introducing a deliberate imperfection in their almost perfect craft as evidence they truly accept that beauty is found in the perfectly imperfect.

Whether it be in our lives or our stitching, here’s to each of us pausing in our sometimes-relentless pursuit of perfection and embracing what is, and maybe even laying a deliberately perfectly imperfect stitch along the way!

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