Beauty in Imperfection

I’m going to say something right now that might get a few raised eyebrows from all of you, but I want you to know that I’m not just saying it out of vanity or self-absorption. And what I am going to say is this: I am beautiful.

Now, before you start laughing or shaking your head at me, let me explain why I said that. See, a friend sent me a blog post she’d read titled “The disease called ‘Perfection’“, and it got me thinking. I’ve mentioned a lot of my imperfections on this blog, sometimes out of self-deprecation, sometimes out of frustration, sometimes in jest, sometimes not even thinking about what my mention might mean to someone else… and I get a lot of you empathizing with me and bemoaning your own imperfections. Whether it be that you want to lose weight too, you have blemished skin, you’re emotional, you have a bad temper; whatever the case, it’s usually something you hate about yourself, and it’s usually something that brings you down.

And I want you to stop. Stop right now, look at yourself, and list every imperfection you can think about yourself.

Once you’ve done that, re-read that list. For every thing about yourself that is imperfect, list a quality about yourself that is uplifting and good. Something that you like about yourself, or that other people like about you.


Because I’ve realized lately that there aren’t enough people in this world who think positively. There are too many women, men, boys, and girls out there who see themselves in a warped and debilitating way. There are too many self-harming teens, who resort to cutting, bad eating habits, drugs, drinking, sex, or anything else they can find to get away from the fact that they aren’t perfect. There are too many people trying to cover up their pain with artificial things, and I’m tired of it. I’ve had too many friends thrown into the depths of depression– friends I love dearly who have considered suicide or committed self-harm– and I don’t want someone else I know to feel alone in this world.

I want you to see your beauty. I want you to realize that you are not ruled by imperfections, that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder… but that beauty is what you make it to be. Beauty is what comes from within you, and what shines through your skin. Beauty is letting yourself be seen. Beauty is taking off the mask of attempted perfection and letting people know who you really are.

And I want you to know who I really am. I want you to know my flaws, and I want you to know my strengths. I want you to know that I am human just like you. I’m not some grand adventurer, I’m not some important person, I’m not well-known. I’m just a girl sitting on her bed writing this blog in hopes that someone will see it and realize their worth.

Some of the things in my list are viewed as flaws only by the world, and some of these things are viewed as flaws only by me. Either way, I hope that you read my list and are encouraged to find the beauty in your list of imperfections.

  • I am heavier than most of my friends and always have been… but I have a woman’s body, and my curves are beautiful.
  • I am incredibly emotional and cry over almost everything… but I am compassionate and have the ability to sympathize where others cannot.
  • I am sometimes immature and laugh at inappropriate times… but I can point out the beauty of the rain when others find themselves oppressed by the storm.
  • I have a lot of dental problems… but my smile still has the ability to brighten someone’s day.
  • I have been passed over for another girl, my heart has been broken, and I have never dated… but I  have the confidence to be single, and know that romantic love is far surpassed by the love of my family and the love of my God.
  • I am nearsighted and must wear glasses… but I have beautiful eyes, and glasses draw attention to that.
  • I have a round face, small lips, and could never be a model… but my looks are unique, and I stand out from a crowd.
  • I have a bad temper… but I am firm in what I believe, and do not sway from my standpoint.
  • I am sometimes lazy in my duties around the house… but I have learned the joy in taking my time when others might worry and rush.
  • I am allergic to many, many things… but I am sensitive to the pain of others.
  • I have a hard time proving my point in speech… but I can see both sides of the argument and have always been a good mediator.
  • I have very few experiences in the world… but I learn from what others do, and have more wisdom than most people my age.
  • I am sheltered and sometimes ignorant of the world’s ways… but I have innocence, and can be a good influence on others.
  • I am selfish and sinful at heart… but I have a God whose Son died for me, who has forgiven me, and whose beauty has transformed my life.
  • I am a Jesus Freak*… but I can follow the example of my Savior to see people for who they are, and love them no matter what.
  • I have my head in the clouds at times… but I can see hope in the future when others doubt it.
  • I have cellulite, stretch marks, and fat… but I have triumphed over addictions to sugar and junk food, and can encourage others to do the same.
  • I am poor… but I have learned to be wise with my money.

I am flawed. I am human. I make mistakes, I get mad, I say things I don’t mean. But for every flaw, there is a good thing about me that passes joy to others. And I know that I don’t talk about it much on my blog out of consideration for those of you who disagree with my beliefs, but I have to tell you that if I did not have the influence of God on my life– if my parents had not raised me to love Jesus– I would not have any of those good qualities.

It sounds religious and silly to some of you, I am sure. And that’s okay. You can disagree with me, and I will respect you for that. I won’t think less of you, I won’t get angry, I won’t try to argue and say that my way is right. You are your own person. What you believe or don’t believe isn’t up to me to judge, it’s up to God. I’m  not here to point out the heathens. 😉

I’m here to see the beauty in you, to love you for you, and to hope that I can encourage someone with something I have said. I’m here to prove that staying true to my faith does not mean looking down on everyone and causing anger. I’m here to show you that being human and being imperfect doesn’t mean you’re ugly and unsalveagable.

I hope that something I said has caused you to see your own beauty and worth if you are depressed. I hope that you pass this on to someone who needs it. If this post makes a difference in one person’s life, I will be happy.

I want you to know that I love you, whoever you are. You’re flawed, you’re human, you’re weird, and you’ve got some really odd quirks. But I wouldn’t have you any other way, because you are you, and you are beautiful to me. Don’t ever stop being you.

Outfit Details:
Shirt, $3; Skirt, $5; Earrings, $3; Belt, $0.99; Shoes… unknown.
Approximate outfit cost: $20 (allowing for the shoes.)


  • reclaiming ryan

    I used to lament losing my hair until a cute girl told me bald is beautiful. Many years later I have much less hair, but find baldness distictive. Love your post.

  • Sarah

    I love you Mara. Reading through your post I realize an improvement in myself I hadn’t even seen before. Most of those “imperfections” that I hate about myself (my weight, my teeth…) are things I desire to change not because I think they make me ugly but because changing them will improve my health. It used to be that I hated my weight because I was embarrassed that I’d gone from a size 5 to a size 14. I hated my smile because my teeth are crooked and not white (despite braces). But it seems that out of growing and learning to be who God wants me to be has changed the motives behind why I want to change what I want to change.

    This is what I’ve noticed: The world promotes physical perfection. Tiny waist, perfectly sculpted face, (for women) perfect sized breasts, and the perfect little bottom… and yet the beauty of who we are inside seems to matter little. There are articles and articles about how to get that tiny waist, perfect butt, how to apply make up to make ourselves look beautiful (not saying make up is bad, but overuse can be). All this focus on our outward appearance, but little to no articles on improving our character.

    I can’t tell you how many women I know that may not be considered that image of perfect beauty… or even really beautiful outwardly, but who they are inside, their character, shines through and makes them beautiful. I’m not just saying their good character becomes who you see after you get to know them, but that from that first meeting they shine! Literally you can only see them as beautiful because of who they are cannot be separated from what they look like physically. Does that make sense? Has anyone else met anyone like that?

    • Mara

      It makes perfect sense! I remember this one girl who was not at all what the world calls beautiful– she was well over 200lbs and didn’t have features that would have been considered pretty– but her personality was bubbly and positive and happy… and I remember her as being beautiful physically, because her personality was so lovely.

      And on the flip side, I’ve met girls who are drop-dead gorgeous by the world’s standards, but they are so selfish and bitter and biting that I remember them as very plain, or even ugly… because their personalities completely destroyed whatever beauty they might have physically had.

      Not to say that you can completely let yourself go, but truly… who you are as a person is what people will remember the most.

  • Sarah

    Gorgeous inspiring post hun 🙂 Too many of us do this and its quite funny because our visions of ourselves are always distorted. I do wish I could be seen through the eyes of someone else. We all have our days when we feel horrible but everyone is unique You are avery wise lady 🙂 Its funny..the thing I used to niggle about years ago I am starting to love my “flaws” Like you said in your post about teeth. My crooked teeth are growing on me 🙂 I used to hate having a rump but it sure is comfy to sit on 😉
    xxxoxoxoxoxoxooxxo kisses

    • Mara

      It’s altogether too true that we are our own greatest critics.
      I love your teeth, by the way. I think that the slight crookedness makes you so unique and adorable, and you have such a gorgeous smile.
      Haha! And yes, rumps are so comfortable to sit on. The extra padding comes in handy. 😀

  • Avra-Sha Faohla

    Oh, Mara, I loved this post! And, you know, even had you started simply with “I am beautiful,” rather than the warning/intro, I would not have raised an eyebrow. I know you’re not that vain. 😉

    I’ve one question — you wrote, “I can point out the beauty of the rain when others find themselves oppressed by the storm.” I know you love rain, but aren’t you terrified of storms?

    Anyway, I wanted to tell you that this post tugged at my heartstrings, and I can’t say why, because it’s not exactly what I’d call an emotional post. I can only surmise that you simply wrote it in such a beautiful way that it touched me.

    Depression seems to be almost a fad these days. All those emo people seem almost proud to bear that label. They’re unhappy and let themselves be unhappy. The thing about depression is . . . once it hits you, you have a desire to stay depressed. It makes absolutely no sense, but miserable people want to stay miserable. I guess God made human nature that way as a challenge. Happiness is very important, and God wants us to work hard to achieve it, because that’ll make the happiness all the greater, won’t it? But these days so many people don’t realize that, and they just let themselves stay depressed rather than work to try to be happy. That’s why we’ve got so many people hating themselves and their life.

    • Mara

      Haha, that’s good to know. I just felt like leading in with “I am beautiful” was a little awkward from the writing standpoint. It needed an introduction. In my opinion. But y’know, that’s just me.

      I meant that in a figurative way. I am terrified of lightning, to clarify… storms don’t bother me unless there is lightning. But I meant that… when something bad happens and someone is being dragged down by less-than-desirable circumstances, I am the one that usually points out the good thing about the situation, or the uplifting consequence if there is one.

      You know, I started to tear up when I wrote it. I guess it was just so much from the heart that even if it’s not really emotional, it’s still… emotional. Hehe.

      Yeah, putting on the label of depression can be a way for people to get the attention they want, to be the suffering person, to get out of dealing with bigger problems, maybe even to fit in… but I have to disagree. I don’t know if you’re speaking from personal experience, but I have been depressed and there was nothing I wanted more than to get away from it, and I have known people who have been depressed and most of them sought ways to relieve that depression– turning to drugs, drink, sex, etc… those are all ways people try to dig themselves out of depression or fight it off. They don’t work, but… those are efforts to get away from it.

      • Sarah

        On the depression topic, and speaking from experience, you are both right. On one hand you want to stay depressed, and on the other the emotional pain or numbness is too much to bear and so you do try to find some escape.

        I think perhaps that the reason depressed people want to stay that way can really be for a few different reasons: 1) they are putting on depression as a “costume” to get attention, 2) they don’t feel they can ever be truly happy again and so don’t even contemplate happiness as an option, 3) they are afraid of coming out of that depression because it has become comfortable to them, they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves or how to relate to people if they were no longer depressed. Those are just reasons that I’ve once felt myself, or others have told me they’ve felt.

        Just thought I’d add in my two cents 😉

      • Avra-Sha Faohla

        It’s not just you. I don’t think I would have started with “I am beautiful” either. But my comment was not from a writing standpoint.

        Oh. Heh heh. Whoops.

        They are efforts to get away from it, but they are half-hearted efforts. Everyone knows that drugs, alcohol, and sex don’t make someone happy. People seek temporary reliefs, but they do not seek permanent ones. Because they’re too depressed to work on themselves. Does that make sense?

        Oh . . . I just read Sarah’s two cents below and I think they’re worth more than that. 😀 Especially the third reason she gave. Depression is not comfortable, but it’s comfortable in the sense that the depressed person is used to it, and it’s a state of apathy. When someone feels like they don’t care about anything, they don’t have to work hard. It’s a way of dodging the responsibilities of life.

  • Demy

    This post gave me goosebumbs (ok.. I’m not sure that this word means what I think it means, but what I want to say is that the hairs on my hands stood up! Is it “goosebumbs”, “goosepupms” or nothing like that??)
    So, as I was saying, that’s one of the most gorgeous posts ever written. I love the way you write, it makes such a huge impact on me. And it made me realise that in the end the imperfections matter. What could a perfect person think of? What could he discuss about? What would he do every day? How would he try to improve? So I owe you a huge THANK YOU for making me see what I should have already seen, what all people everywhere should see. You should send this article somewhere, I don’t know, to a magazine, a paper, something. AND I MEAN IT!

    About your outfit, I so love this gorgeous classic vibe and the pieces look great together! Awesome earrings and shoes as well! With all my heart I tell you: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! You are beautiful! 🙂 YOU ARE!

    • Mara

      Haha, you’re so cute. It’s goosebumps. 😉

      I’m so glad that it inspires you, and that it made you think! You’re welcome! I might send it to a magazine someday. Someday. Thank you.

      You are beautiful, and I do mean that!

  • Stephanie

    Hi. I have always battled with being a little overweight and my face! I have had sunpoisioning twice in high school, since then, when it’s hot outside, my face turns just about blood red! Especially when I’m at work! I also have acne. I’ve slowly over the years have learned to deal with the comments, and just let it roll, but it still hurts. People asking what I have and all. Thank you for your post!

    • Mara

      Hello. 🙂
      I can imagine how difficult that can be to deal with, the questions. I hope that you see beauty in yourself outside of that. (I’ve been reading some of your blog posts, and I think you’re so fun to read!)

  • Asia Morela

    Very inspiring entry… And yes, you are beautiful. I think that’s the first comment I made on this blog. 😉

    Such reminders are great to help us get over our daily insecurities. However, for people who actually suffer from depression, eating disorders or any other such mental disorder, we must understand that any self-hate directed towards their appearance is more a symptom/consequence than a cause/reason of their ill-being…

    It is simplistic, and in most cases wrong, to believe that somebody is anorexic or bulimic only because they think they’re too fat. This is only a pretext they find to cope with a much deeper, entirely psychological difficulty they’re facing.

    For example, I happen to be lucky enough to be overall pretty; I have a body type suited for modeling, and a nice face. I’ve really nothing to complain about, whether looks- or health-wise. Yet for years I HATED my body. I now know that it was only a (stupid and desperate) way for me to explain what I perceived as my failures and my impossibility to obtain forgiveness from those I loved (mainly my parents, then my schoolmates).

    When you’re in a mental impasse, it’s just too easy and tempting to make your body pay for it. (And not the opposite.) Your body’s the physical part of you, after all, the part that seems to shout: “I’m earthly, I’m mortal, I’m imperfect, I’m singular, I’m alone!” Being alive gives serious vertigo. Unless, perhaps, you find your way to God…

    I don’t think I could live without the idea of Perfection. But while some people only experience it as an absence, which leads them to depression, I’ve learnt to experience it as a presence. The world isn’t all there is.

    • Mara

      Oh, I agree. I know that eating disorders and self-harming and depression are consequences or symptoms of deeper problems, and just reading this post isn’t going to make someone with those deeper problems change. But I can hope that it helps someone somewhere.

      And I think what I was trying to say isn’t that you shouldn’t strive for perfection, or that it’s a bad thing to like the idea of perfection… but that you shouldn’t beat yourself up just because you aren’t perfect. You know? Perfection in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, it’s just what us humans DO to that idea, and do to ourselves as a result.

      • Avra-Sha Faohla

        Exactly! You should strive for perfection. Because the only way to do your best is to strive for the best . . . which is perfection. But you have to keep in mind that no one is perfect, and don’t get discouraged and depressed if your best is not perfect. And for the things that you can’t change, like your physical traits, you should accept that God made you exactly the way He wanted you to be. Thus you avoid getting depressed from both the things you can change and the things you can’t change.