Why Do We Reject Ugly?

Oct 12, 2020 | Being Kind to the Earth, Being Kind to Yourself, Coaching

Why are we so quick to judge when we encounter something that is less than perfect? Why do we associate imperfection with ugly? Examine these questions with me to so we can break out of perfection prison and discover how…

Why We Judge

When we encounter something that we feel is less than perfect, we are the first to judge. We label as “ugly” without ever giving that thing (or person) a chance to reveal itself to us.

But why is this? Why are we so quick to judge? Is it because we ourselves are not perfect so we are looking for flaws to make us feel superior? Perhaps we need to go back to what our parents or grandparents would tell us, “never judge a book by its cover.” This was our first lesson to not be so quick to label but to give it a try. Keep going with the parental lesson with the old adage of “try it and you might like it.” Has that ever happened to you? Tried something and actually liked it? Even if the food, book, sweater, or (gasp) another person might be considered “ugly” in our eyes.

Forgetting the Lessons We Teach

Yes, we forget those sayings and lessons as we grow older. Sure, we tell them to our children or other youngsters around us, but do we really follow them ourselves? Many times, our opinions form before we try something ourselves. All because we are striving for a form of perfection. We forget these lessons because our parents, teachers, bosses, peers are pushing us to strive for this idea of perfection in order to succeed with our goals and dreams. We are told that many times we are not good enough if we do not win the game or get good grades or seal the deal and land the promotion. And, because of being held to a higher standard, we begin to reject all of the “ugly” things around us.

One example, the other day I was eating a bag of potato chips, the brand is called “Uglies.” Well, because, those chips were made from the “ugly” potatoes. Did I notice a difference in their taste? No. Yes, the shape of some of the chips were odd, but that didn’t make them any less tasty. They did their job to satisfy my crunchy and salty craving. I didn’t feel ugly because I ate an ugly chip (only because I ate WAY TOO MANY chips!).

The Perfection of Imperfection

Going for perfection isn’t healthy. In the nutrition world, we see that all of the time. For instance, many fast-food restaurants want to look perfect for you to purchase their foods. However, their methods for perfection allows chemicals and other toxins into their foods and into our bodies. They hire farmers to grow perfect potatoes, using fertilizers to be sure there are no blemishes. So, it may be perfect on the outside, but toxic on the inside. We need to do our research and know what really is beneath that perfect surface. In the same breath, there are many companies and organizations that see our flawed fruits and vegetables and know that they offer just as many nutrients to our bodies as those that may come off the trees perfect. For example, the sustainable organization, Full Harvest, will send you flawed produce, so it does not go to waste. Now, that sounds closer to perfect. And, guess what, try the ugly produce – you might like it!

So many times, we reject the ugly because we do not want to look like we aren’t in the ‘cool kids’ club. Being healthy on the inside and outside makes us more of the ‘cool kid’ than those who pick others who may not measure up by an imaginary standard. Let’s reflect back on the story of the Ugly Duckling. The “ugly” duck was rejected and teased because he did not look like the others. But as time went on, he grew to become this beautiful swan. That really sums up our lives. We all begin as awkward children, only to grow into smart, unique, loving adults. We are needing and wanting to grow into that swan, but yet reject the flaws and the ugly that can take us there.

Break the Chains of Perfection

In her recent book, “Brave, Not Perfect,” Reshma Saujani discusses how we become a prisoner of our perfectionism. We feel the need to please everyone because we fear our own rejection. This fear is holding us back. We do not take chances because we don’t want to make a mistake, appear flawed. Which, in turn, makes us ugly to ourselves. In the same breath, we are looking for others’ flaws, so that they can appear ugly to make us feel better. Vicious cycle, huh?

So, during this time of year, as winter melts into spring, we are ready to reject the ugly of the bitter cold and snow and look towards more sunny and warmer days with brighter flowers and cleansing rains. But, without the cold, we would not be able to appreciate the warmth and beauty the next season brings.

I challenge myself and all of you to begin to recognize the rejection of the ugly in our lives and in others. We all have a gift to give, no matter what our outward appearance may be. What are some ways you have rejected perfection and embraced the “ugly” in your life? How has it turned into a swan for you? Leave a comment here and let me know!