Years ago, I more or less told a dear, sweet friend that I absolutely did not trust her. We had just pulled into my driveway after doing something together and she asked if she could come in and use my bathroom. I told her no.
It wasn’t because my bathroom was messy–I could have run in and grabbed the underwear off the floor. It was because I carried deep shame over the one-hundred-year old house we rented and the outdated state of it. She and her husband lived in a new house in a nice neighborhood. My house was in the bad part of town, had been a rental for years, and had bright orange Formica counters and a weird bathroom that looked like a serial killer grew up taking showers in there.
I thought I was protecting myself by not letting her come in, but really, by not allowing her to see my bathroom, I was telling her she couldn’t be trusted with the imperfections of my life, which is why I went to great lengths to hide them. I was telling her that I expected she would judge me. To this day, I’m still embarrassed to admit that’s what I did. I wish I’d had the courage to invite her in. She would have not cared, I would have seen that, it would have solidified our friendship, and I could have started to deal with my perfectionist ways earlier. Instead, I held her at arms’s length and we never really got that close.
The truth is, there actually are some people in the world who can’t be trusted with the imperfections of my life, but usually, I’m not friends with them. The untrustworthy ones aren’t dropping me off at my house with a hug and asking to use my bathroom. Why be friends with people I can’t trust to see my mess? If not them, then who?
Inviting people into your home is a high form of trust. it says, Here’s my mess, here are my unfinished d things and here’s the truth about me. Knowing you better is worth risking your knowing me better. Inviting people in is trusting they can handle that. When we open our doors to our friends, essentially we are saying, Welcome to my home home where things aren’t perfect. I trust you can relate. We tell them to come as they are, and we choose to let them see us as we are.
The wonderful thing about allowing people to see a little imperfection is that it leads to connection. Imperfection is relatable. If everyone pretends to be perfect, it’s exhausting and all surfacey. Once someone goes first and shares something deeper, then a real connection happens and trust begins. You and me, we know the power of the imperfect. Let’s be the ones to go first. We’ll take that tiny baby step and trust the people in our life with the fact that we aren’t perfect and neither is our house.
Imperfection plays a huge role in our lives and it’s vital in helping us form healthy relationships.
We’d be crazy to try to banish imperfection, no one, not one person want’s to be awed and impressed by our fancy, perfect, high-end, brand new, jaw-dropping, better-than-everyone-else’s- house. Aren’t you glad you don’t have that? I am.
Becoming an imperfections–being able to see the benefits of not trying to be perfect or pretending things are perfect–is the first step to making real change in your home because you finally have your priorities right. Once we realize we can partner with our imperfections to help create an atmosphere that is welcoming and life-giving we can move forward.
Think about a home of a friend where you love to visit. Is it fancy, pristine, perfect beyond question? Or is it warm, lived-in, loved-on and approachable? Is there beauty there as well?
Embracing imperfections doesn’t mean we have an empty house full of taped together cardboard boxes for a sofa. It doesn’t mean we’ve given up. And it certainly doesn’t mean we don’t value beauty.
It means we understand that homes are for people and people are made for connection. Home should be the place you love most in the world and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be absolutely beautiful. It better not be perfect if you want others to want to feel free to be themselves.
There is so much beauty to be found in the midst of the imperfect if we’re willing to do the work to find it.