Have you ever heard the story about the cracked pot?
“A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After 2 years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak all the way back to your house.”
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”
Your flaws are not what they seem. They do not make you broken, nor unlovable, nor a crack(ed) pot in any way. Instead, as with the pot, they place you on the path and are integral to fulfilling your true purpose. Embracing them also brings beauty and grace to others.
Think about it for a moment. What do you love most about the people in your life? What’s endearing? Is it someone’s perfection or their quirks?
Some of the most successful people used what may have been judged a flaw to grace the world.
- The class clown becomes a comedian. Think of George Carlin. He even came out with an album called Class Clown.
- Gillian Lynne, unable to focus and sit in class without fidgeting, became a ballerina, dancer, actor, theatre director, television director, and choreographer. She is noted for her popular theatre choreography associated with the musical Cats and the current longest running show in Broadway history, The Phantom of the Opera.
- Einstein’s refusal to conform in school later became a gift to the world through his scientific discoveries.
- Elyn Saks overcame the predictions that she would only be able to hold menial jobs due to schizophrenia. She became a law professor, “genius grant” winner and author. Her openness about her struggle is helping to reduce the stigma for others, and so on.
- Both Kathryn Bigelow (director) and Jeremy Renner (actor) from the movie The Hurt Locker are highly sensitive/shy yet very talented individuals.
You have a perfect fit for who you are, whether it’s a partner or a particular career, and it would be a big mistake to try to fit into someone else’s idea of what is “normal” or “perfect.” By refusing to let your unique light shine and by hiding your so-called flaws, the world will miss the beauty of you. Those flowers wouldn’t have grown without that cracked pot. The world would be incomplete without you just as you are.
Instead of wanting to get rid of your flaws, ask to be shown the gift in them. For example, if you get anxious when waiting for a return call or out on a date, use that anxiety as your signal
- to find center through meditation,
- to redirect your attention to the person in front of you and be present and interested in them, or
- to love yourself through it with a little humor.
No matter what, you are perfectly imperfect and the right person will do more than overlook your flaws. They will love them as part and parcel of what endears you to them.
Love and blessings,