We know that no one is perfect. At least I hope we all understand that. But sometimes we can be harder on ourselves than we need to be. I’m not talking about the kind of hardness that pushes us to be better. I’m talking about the kind of negative self-talk that leads us to seeing our flaws as just flaws, never as the advantages they can be. We tend to see ourselves as the cracked pot sees itself in this short story…
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 two 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 out 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.”
Instead of seeing our flaws, we need to look for the good. I know this sounds cheesy, but every single one of us is unique. Sure, we have some things in common, and there are characteristics that are shared by many, but the way you are is like no one else. We all have gifts that can sometimes disguise themselves as flaws. The question is, what do you see when you look at yourself? If you only see flaws, and not gifts, I’m afraid you’ll find it difficult to be happy. Like the cracked pot, you may be focused on the wrong thing.
If you’re unhappy most days, do yourself a favor and take a good look at yourself. What “flaws” are you focusing on and how can they be used for good? How can looking at your situation differently open up a world of happiness to you? Know that no one is perfect and learn to be thankful for your imperfections. This new look on life can make all the difference in the world.