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5 reasons Ronda Rousey thinks you should stop trying to be perfect

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Photo: Reebok

“It’s like everyone’s on a first date with the world all of the time,” MMA champ and Olympic medalist Ronda Rousey joked at a launch event on Tuesday for her new campaign with Reebok, #PerfectNever.

Rousey was referencing the heavily filtered world of social media, where things tend to look #PerfectAlways, the world all dressed up in flattering gym light and rainbow smoothie bowls.  Now, she’s spreading the message that reality is not just a series of pretty pictures. In fact, it sometimes looks like getting knocked out by a kick to the neck—which she herself experienced when she suffered her first UFC career loss in November.

Rousey was down and out in a huge, public way after the fight, and the Reebok video feels like a fierce declaration that she’s back—and that, more importantly, she’s still her bad-ass self. It’s overly dramatic like all motivational marketing spots tend to be, but still feels poignant, given her story.  “Here’s the thing about being perfect,” you hear her say. “Perfect never gets truly tested. Perfect never gets to silence its critics. Perfect never has a shot at redemption.”

Here are five reasons Rousey thinks you should embrace your own imperfections to live a stronger, happier life.

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1. All that glitters is not gold

Appearances are deceiving, so why base your self-worth on them? If you think that blogger you follow on Instagram only has good hair days, she probably takes 55 photos each time to get one she feels good about. “Everyone is their own PR team,” Rousey lamented. Stop acting like yours, and start enjoying the way your real life looks more. The next time you snap a photo with your BFF and it’s not, ahem, your best angle? “It’s okay to post a picture you don’t think you look good in, because you’re with somebody you love.”

“It’s okay to post a picture you don’t think you look good in, because you’re with somebody you love.”

2. What other people think of you is not about you

“There are millions of people out there that hate my guts,” Rousey said, when asked about how she deals with criticism. And while taking advice to better yourself is one thing, internalizing other people’s opinions won’t get you anywhere—especially because most of the time, it’s not actually about you at all. “It’s not a reflection of myself,” she said of the haters. “It’s a reflection of them.”

3. Fussing over imperfections distracts you from your goals

“Women in general are expected to be amazing at everything,” Rousey said—and who has time for that? You’ve got better things to do than, say, spend two hours obsessing over a pimple in the morning. “There are so many little things that are pulling your attention off of these grand goals and desires that you should be able to focus on.”

“You have to be so good that on the worst day that you have, you’re going to be able to pull through.”

4. You learn the most about yourself when things go wrong

Rousey’s mom gets credit for these last two. She was the person who pushed and supported the athlete in huge ways, and one of the big lessons she passed on is that bad days happen—but it’s how you perform on those days that’s more important than how you do when everything’s perfecto. “Her message to me was you have to be so good that on the worst day that you have, you’re going to be able to pull through,” Rousey said. “You have to be so good that even when it’s bad, you’re alright.”

5. You have nine more toes

Hopefully you have ten, but it’s a metaphor. When Rousey broke her toe as a kid, she says her mom reminded her, “You have nine more toes.” In other words, when things go wrong, focus on what you’ve got going for you and, chances are, you’ve got more than enough to be fine.

Plus, unlike Rousey, no one’s attempting to knee you in the gut and punch you in the face regularly. So you’ve got that to be thankful for.

Want more advice from strong female athletes? Check out these five things we learned about body image from Misty Copeland. And if you’re really feeling Rousey’s words, try going makeup-free.