I came across an article: 6 Healthy Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Toxic” that ended with this quote: “It may be our perfections that attract one another. But it’s our imperfections that decide whether we stay together or not.” Not in direct contrast, but the other quote that came to mind was: “But what a man does out of despair, is not necessarily a key to his character. I have always thought that the real key is in that which he seeks for his enjoyment”. (Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged) The concept behind the second quote is that your flaws, while a part of you, are not meant to be loved and cherished, but rather just accepted. While the quotes are simplistic and there was much more written behind them, I’ve been thinking about these tensions. Is it more important for someone to complement your perfection or your imperfection, if the balance must be swayed towards one?
“And this wholeness came not from two perfections meeting, but two imperfections meeting, two imperfections that both complemented and compensated for one another’s shortcomings.”
To what extent is that true? I think that it is more important for someone to complement the positive side of you, rather than appealing to the lowest common denominator. Someone who accepts you as you, but challenges you to your own highest standard. That type of love will ultimately make you a better person than the accommodation of any shortcoming you can throw at them. And perhaps a better word than imperfection is quirkiness. What some may see as flaws, I may see as just part of my personality, and something that makes me unique. It is important for someone to accept and embrace my imperfections, but perhaps it is more important to find someone who sees these as quirks rather than an imperfection. After all, perfection, just as imperfection is subjective. I think a better measure is if another’s actions motivate and inspire you, or not. Do they help you work towards your own perfection.
Realizing that there are some more objective characteristics of flaws, and not everything is a matter of interpretation, lets give a concrete example. If someone has had challenging relationships in the past, and is an extremely jealous partner. If you love that person, do you accept that flaw? Or do you challenge them to change it, to work towards becoming a better version of themselves without that insecurity. I think love embraces the person as the whole, and rejects the notion that negative characteristics are inherently part of them. Love challenges and transforms negativity into positivity.
What does it mean to complement another’s shortcoming?
A friend laments.. ‘I want someone to love me for my flaws’.. but I’m thinking. I want someone to love me for my greatness, for things I admire about myself, not the things I struggle with, or am working to change. I think in modification to the first quote, it is the level of perfection and attraction, that enables you to manage the imperfections. If you are so so about somebody, it harder to overcome the negative things.