Match.com launched their #LoveYourImperfections campaign earlier this year to fight for authenticity and self confidence in dating. So when Match got in touch to ask how, as a dating blogger, I embraced my own imperfections, I was excited but a little stumped.
If you’d spoken to a younger Janey you would have gotten a very glum and angry answer.
‘How do you love your imperfections whilst dating?’
She would have stared you down and snarled something to do with her nose being too big and her chest too flat.
You wouldn’t have wanted to date her either.
So now, as a slightly older me, I thought I could tell you about how I dress for my shape. Or think about the parts of me I like, rather than the bits I don’t. Or how I’m honest about loving Radio 4, because I know that’s much more likely to find me a ‘real match’. But really, any magazine on the stand can tell you that.
So instead I wanted to tell you why I don’t think we should even categorise parts of us as ‘Imperfect’.
I’m 24 and quite honestly still figuring out how to pull off looking like an adult. Whilst still considering Pop Tarts a nutritious breakfast and using my hair straighteners in place of an iron. Figuring out dating? Well, I’m not quite there yet either.
Finding a match, a partner, a lover who’s my best friend, (you know the ‘dream guy’) is proving tricky. I’m single and for a long time it felt like problem. A problem with me. I’d spend hours of frustration pouring over that all-important question; ‘why not me?’
But now when I’m at family weddings or large parties and I hear myself give the routine answer I always smile back to nosey relatives: “Because I’ve not met the right person yet”, I’m actually starting to believe it myself.
Moving through my twenties and in with my much wiser, blonder and more level headed best friend I developed a routine: I would find and meet guys whom I semi-liked. Date them and then for some reason be completely heart broken two months later.
It was as if, each time I dated someone, I was so grateful that they’d seen past everything that was wrong with me. So grateful for them saying:
“Ok. I’ll give you some of my attention for a bit of time and if you’re fun enough, entertaining enough, good enough in bed, then maybe this will work out.”
The routine of the semi-relationship was largely me jumping through hoops. Then eventually employing ‘self deprecation’ and ‘snide remarks’ to be my backing dancers. To try and inspire some kind of reaction from whoever he was at the time. Because I wanted him say something, which would give me hope, that this could turn into the ‘real thing’.
Of course it never did.
After breaking up with the same guy for the second or third time and feeling more bruised and used up than ever I turned, red eyed, damp cheeked and defeated to my wiser blonder best friend.
“I’m just not good enough for him”
Then she said something so simple and level headed:
“Replace ‘good enough’ with ‘right’.”
Once I collected myself and ate junk food for about a week, I came around to the idea that maybe there wasn’t so much wrong with me.
I’d been so worried about being good enough and covering up the things, which I thought, would be a ‘turn off’. Things I was upset about, the parts of me I didn’t like and was seeking some sort of outside approval for, (because surely that would make them all ok) I realised that I’d behaved like a completely different person.
But that’s the point. Right there. No one gets to like the whole you, the real you, until they’ve met that version of yourself. And whilst I was so desperate for approval and grateful to be in a relationship I was never going to bring out that person.
One of the best pieces of sense I’ve ever heard dished out on the topic of love, begrudgingly, happens to come from an ex-boyfriend.
“Love doesn’t find people who are looking for it, who want it as a solution to make them whole. It’s cruelly given out to people who are already happy and don’t need it.”
So my goal now is not to be good enough for someone else. It’s to be happy with how good I already am.
“Because I’ve not met the right person yet” I smile.
Love who you are, don’t ask for permission and you’ll receive love in return. For your whole self, quirks, differences, habits and all.
Loving your ‘imperfections’ is the most important part of loving who you are. You’re a human, slightly different from every other on the planet, and 'imperfections' make you, you! They’re not the bits that make you run less smoothly, they’re not blemishes we need to cover up, nor glitches in your personality. They’re the parts, which make you perfect.
Love your imperfections? Love you.