I noticed that when I wrote about my struggle with finishing the 18 mile run and quitting smoking, that there were a lot of enthusiastic comments in those two posts.
It got me to thinking.
A beautifully imperfect flower
You see, I don’t normally write about that stuff because I try to keep my blog inspiring—because my main goal is to inspire other people, encourage other people. But after the outcome of those two posts, and not just that you all commented and I was encouraged, but the relief I felt for getting it off my chest—after all that, I started to reconsider what I post.
And I asked, why was there such a huge outpouring on those posts?
Imagine a World Full of Perfect People
I allowed myself to be open and vulnerable to you all. And I revealed my flaws and my weaknesses in those two posts. The only thing I can imagine is this:
We all have flaws and things we would like to improve about ourselves and our lives. If we didn’t, what would be the point of being inspiring? Why would anyone need to be motivated? What would we have to cheer about or congratulate others on if we were all already perfect? If we were all perfect, we would all graduate with straight A’s from college, and therefore, graduating with straight A’s would not be an achievement that required congratulations.
If we were all perfect, we would not need personal trainers or gyms, because we would already take spectacular care of our bodies on our own, we would not need car insurance because we would all be perfect drivers and never get in car accidents, we would not need lawyers because none of us would do anything wrong against another, we would not need policemen because we would be able to keep our own peace.
It would be a different world if we were all perfect. In fact, if you think about it, it would be a cold world.
A Beautiful Paradox
I kind of like our imperfections now that I think of it that way. If we were perfect, what would we need? It is a beautiful paradox: our imperfections create a means whereby we need one another. This need creates community. Something you don’t have, I have and what I don’t have, you have. We can have a relationship this way. I need you. You need me.
By revealing my imperfections, I essentially revealed an opportunity for community to occur. I looked up the etymology of community. Etymonline says that one etymology of community comes from the Latin term, communis, meaning “common, public, general, shared by all or many.” In other words, community is created when something is shared by all. And certainly, we have this in common—we all have flaws and imperfections.
And so we get it. We understand and can relate. Now, it’s obvious that we all don’t have every single flaw. But, we all have flaws. And whether we have the same exact flaw or not, when we can recognize ourselves in one another’s flaws, community can be established.
On the flip side of this paradox, our imperfections can push us away from one another. And how does that happen? That happens when we do not see ourselves, our own weakness in another’s weakness. In essence, we have ceased to consider our own flaw, and are concentrating on the flaw of someone else.
Remember I said that if we were perfect, we would not need anyone. It would be a cold world. A person who has ceased to consider his own flaw, doesn’t recognize his need for others. This is where he acts in coldness toward someone else with flaws that he doesn’t see in himself. This is where he stops community from happening. He separates himself from community. But wait. This is that person’s flaw—not to see his own flaw. Do not judge even that person.
My Personal Experience
Recently, I have had to deal with a person like this. He is judgmental and has a certain way of thinking that leads him to belittle others. In his inability to see this about himself, he creates distance between himself and others. My initial reaction with this person has been to give him that distance, to shut down when I am around him, but essentially, I am also distancing myself from him and communication with him. And communication with him is essential. As I think about it now, I realize I am in the wrong. Why? Because the person who sees the situation for what it is, but does nothing to change how they react toward it, only perpetuates a negative situation. In my offense toward this person, I have failed to create community with him. (By the way, this is why I write, because it helps me to think through these things.)
It’s good to want to be inspiring and encouraging to others. And in my effort to “brand” myself and my blog with a certain “voice”, I realize I have missed out on some of the opportunities that sharing some of these flaws can bring. I’m thinking it’s good to share these things. Not just as a way to vent, but as a way to work through them and to relate to others with them. So, you just might see a little difference in my posts from here on out.
What do you think about that?!