By: Rosemary Dewar
Sometimes the fear of messing up will hold you back the most. Having others discover a flaw can feel like a personal disaster, even if it is an audience of one. Hiding imperfections has the potential to harm. At some point, hiding is no longer an option, and intent becomes everything. Being vulnerable in order to trick your audience into overlooking your unrepentant misdeeds can be just as detrimental. Everyone has junk. Even the purest among us have neuroses and morose-ies: that thing that makes one tick and makes another twitch.
Sin is an inescapable reality. That tyrant you have entertained since you were twenty months old has not ceased to exist. You will be contending with it for the rest your life in order to be a decent human being. Just when you think you have a handle on it, it will dig hard at an unsuspecting opponent. The words of Jane Austen’s George Knightly in Emma ring hard in the ear: “Badly done..! Badly done, indeed!” You can either correct your own mischief, or fall into its imminent humiliation. Life experiences have a habit of being a mixture of organization and messiness, with the people you invite into your life tipping the scale just like you do. Experience is not about accepting the good with the bad, it is discerning the good from the bad, and that takes time.
Even in paradise there is still a snake. It wasn’t evil that made the tree of good and evil tempting; it was the good. How you intend to conduct your life matters, and the things you want to achieve will be affected by that conduct. Challenges always come at the least convenient time, but how you conquer them will determine the outcome of the next tragic episode. Those who retreat from trials never really grow much. It is kind of like creating a sterile environment. As much as bacteria may gross people out, they cannot live without it. Try eating your next favorite meal with a deficiency of good bacterium in your gut. It is a far from desirable experience. Take your immune system for example. If your immune system stops fighting off threats, your body will experience a spectrum of symptoms ranging from a runny nose to possibly more dreadful things like cancer. Your life is worth fighting for, and you have to be the first one in line to defend it.
Honesty has never been a virtue of no consequence. It can be wielded improperly, but it has a distinct ability to neutralize that which tries to ruin you. That’s why politicians use honesty in order to minimize any accusation that may reveal a fault in one’s character through books and interviews. Hiding such a thing has the potential to devastate a campaign, but if one utilizes it first, they are socially absolved. If, however, honesty is presented with zero incentive to the audience to believe or forgive, the honesty has revealed strength of character that has the potential to override the mischief.
Those that find solace in pointing out other peoples’ flaws have an aptitude for overlooking their own failings. The feelings of righteous indignation are overshadowed by bitter anger. People like that don’t seem to like or appreciate humans all that much. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who interpret flaws as perfect mutations. Clichés like “perfect imperfections” and “you’re perfect to me” are just as damaging.
Some of our mistakes make us who we are, but thank God all of them don’t. Expecting to find someone untarnished by the mess life expectedly makes is unrealistic. Even plants need dirt. In order to grow, you may need to recognize that you’re already a little dirty. That way, real growth can begin.
By: Rosemary Dewar