Future Imperfect

January 07, 2011

Reading this post reminded me of a concept I’ve heard about that comes from Japanese culture: Wabi-Sabi. To sum it up in a rather general way, wabi-sabi is the art of finding and honoring beauty in the imperfect.

Now this is a concept I can get behind! I love the look of old and imperfect things. I buy distressed furniture, partly because we tend to distress things ourselves even if they don’t come that way, but also because it appeals to me. I find old pieces with a few battle scars much more appealing than something brand new and sleekly perfect. However, wabi-sabi is more than a design aesthetic. It’s a whole outlook on life, an outlook that “[acknowledges] three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,” (Richard R. Powell, Wabi Sabi Simple).

Wabi-sabi doesn’t just put up with imperfection—it embraces it. That’s a good thing for all of us. I’m guessing you’re not perfect—I know I’m not. When I find myself bogged down in the same old issues, now I see I need to go beyond accepting that I’m imperfect all the way to loving my imperfections. This really goes against the grain for those of us in a culture that believes all personal faults should be eradicated immediately, if not sooner.

Perfect doesn’t exist. Imperfect—with all its glorious faults and detours and mistakes-that-turn-into-blessings—does. So today, let go of one thing you’re still a perfectionist about. Examine and embrace the flaws you see. Let the beauty of wabi-sabi wash over your life.

To learn more about wabi-sabi, go here.

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10 comments

  1. Kathy,

    Even if nothing is perfect, I think you just about spelled this out perfectly. :>)

    Have a wonderful weekend,

    Kathy

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  2. Cool post...thanks! I love wabi-sabi, but I didn't know it was called that.

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  3. Kelly--Sshh...I had to look the name up using Google! I remembered the concept, but not the technical name.

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  4. "...all the way to loving my imperfections."

    Seriously?!

    Mine?!

    Hmmm, this will need processing!

    (LOVE the post, the concept and several of your comments!)

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  5. Laure--yeah, the LOVING part is what gets me. I'm not quite there yet.

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  6. I guess I'm Wabi-Sabi. Lots of stressed marks on this old body. lol

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  7. Hi,Jeanne--I hear you! I just wish our (U.S.) culture was more respectful and accepting of the imperfect...since basically we're all imperfect!

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  8. This is a GREAT post! I'm not familiar with Wabi Sabi (as far as the name... all too familiar with the imperfect part :-). Will check that out some more. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Thanks, Teresa! Isn't it nice to have a name to put on the concept, and to find that it's a positive one?!

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