Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I came across an interesting Japanese philosophy known as Wabi Sabi - yes, it is a serious philosophy with a funny sounding name. Wabi Sabi is an outlook that embraces impermanence and imperfection. Wabi Sabi is founded on the concepts of irregularity rather than regularity, asymmetry rather than symmetry, simplicity rather than complexity, modesty rather than pride.

I thought to myself, 'Is it possible to apply the concept of Wabi Sabi in relationships, which are often very imperfect?' You see, when you first start dating someone, they are perfect in your eyes, well, at least close to perfect. The little things they do are very endearing and cute and you love them for these idiosyncrasies. As the relationship progresses, you don't mind spending some time apart and you are not particularly enthralled by your partner's little behaviors. When most relationship mature, say after a year or so, the little habits that you found so endearing in your parter start to irk the hell out of you. You start to notice how he is such a messy eater, you start to get disgusted by the attention she gives her silly cats, or the fact that he does not make his bed starts to get under your nerves. Sooner or later, you start to notice all the little imperfections of the other person and you begin to wonder whether your partner is really the "one" for you.

We are all imperfect. Accepting this reality will really help you accept and transcend the imperfections of your partner. So what do you do when the feeling of irritation towards your partner creeps in? Do not entertain the feeling longer than one second. Simple. Observe his messy eating. Accept that he is a messy eater and continue with dinner. And don't forget to laugh while at it. Think about it this way, if you do not want a messy eater, it means that you won't be with this guy that you otherwise love. When the messy eating goes, he goes too. Do you want to break off a relationship just because of the small irking habits? Like him leaving dirty socks everywhere or creating a trail of breadcrumbs after you have just cleaned the house or her needing to entertain pets or kids when she comes across them? I don't think so.

However, Wabi Sabi is not about passively accepting bad behaviors such as violence, infidelity, substance abuse or money mismanagement. It is about accepting those little imperfections that are part of every human being. If you have an abusive partner, someone who cheats on you or refuses to get help for his substance abuse, let me tell you what to accept. Accept that you cannot fix them, and run, run really fast baby! 

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