Facing Imperfection The flaws that drive us crazy BY: Troy Murphy |December 2017
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We artfully hide imperfections. We hide them from others, and hide them from ourselves, to accept weakness, we diminish security. With realization of weaknesses, we also realize vulnerabilities, and the demand for some reliance on external sources of strength. Human connections, societies, families and groups are not merely a convenience; they are a necessary element for survival. We need others. No man is an Island.
“It is therefore of supreme importance that we consent to live not for ourselves but for others. When we do this we will be able first of all to face and accept our own limitations. As long as we secretly adore ourselves, our own deficiencies will remain to torture us with an apparent defilement. But if we live for others, we will gradually discover that no expects us to be 'as gods'. We will see that we are human, like everyone else, that we all have weaknesses and deficiencies, and that these limitations of ours play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another.” ― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
Acknowledging weaknesses requires accepting imperfection; flaws are acceptable. The acknowledgment of Imperfection subjects us to vulnerability; but pulls us to combine our resources with others.
Many instead of facing the fears of relying on others, we seek escape. The imaginations of the mind bend reality to soothe disruptions, painting a more perfect existence—we over look the nasty blemishes and see beauty (or dismiss the beauty because of a small freckle). The deceptions are wondrous and seamless, creating a more perfect world where we robustly stand, uninhibited by others. Without courageous attentiveness, we disconnect from reality, living in the painted world of the mind. We aren’t the best driver, the best partner, or the best employee. Majority of people when questioned about driving, relationships and employment truly believe they are above average. From the foundation of a bloated self, blame becomes the only reasonable explanation for failure. IT MUST BE SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT!
We all have a distorted view. We see the world through the learned lenses of bias. The unpredictable chaos of complexity creates too much anxiety; structure and control creates security. But we must accept our susceptibleness to biased delusions before we can challenge them. We can accept that the way we see things are not necessarily how they actually are without knowing for sure which thoughts are based on biased perception and which are grounded in reality. By accepting that our views are malleable perceptions rather than hard facts, we occasionally see through the smoke.
When imperfections are invisible, we serve them, blindly moved by the emotions they engender. We can’t courageously confront the blemishes we don’t see. When we see the spots, understand our vulnerability, we can establish supporting connections, learning trust, and discovering safe zones for retreat. From this position of strength, we confront the uncomfortable spots staining our character. They don’t testify of our nastiness, we still, in our imperfections, deserve the beauties of life—love, security, and forgiveness.