The Greatness of Flaws

Before I learned I had to be a paying member wasn't cool enough to attend one of the writing sessions I was going to attend in Denver last week, I was tasked with writing an essay titled The Greatness of Flaws. Naturally, when I found out I couldn't attend the meeting, part of me was relieved to not have to write the piece.

Then my mind got stuck in it and I couldn't stop thinking about it and what I would write if I could go. The problem was, I couldn't think of anything worthy or noble to say about the greatness of flaws. Nothing.

And of course, because that troubled me, I decided to write a post on that topic, and try to articulate the best I could how I really feel about the greatness of flaws.

So here's this:

First, I will talk about my own flaws. My distortions. My ugliness. Because I see no greatness in my flaws. Almighty Heaven and Earth, life is hard, and finding my strengths right now seems impossible, and seeing my flaws as "great" is even more impossible. My flaws weaken me, make living my life even harder. Some would call an open, deep-feeling, and empathetic heart a strength. It can be, for sure. 

But recently, in me I see it as nothing but a flaw. Things are raw and painful—things that never were before. I feel so much. And I could swear up and down that my throbbing heart emits vibes of pulsing energy, making me wonder how every person within range doesn’t feel them, doesn’t get knocked down by them the same way I feel knocked below the earth. The emotions trample me, keep me downtrodden. My heart swells with love, ache, longing, beauty, joy, sorry, hopelessness—all of it. And I want to share it. I want to act on it.

Even when these emotions aren’t trampling me and instead lifting and empowering me—helping me move forward in beautiful ways—I still ask myself, How can there be greatness in such a flaw? Where is the greatness in loving so deeply when it scars so permanently?

Then there are flaws in others. Why is it that I will pick out the flaws in myself before I notice the strengths, yet in others, I see their strengths first? Also, other people's flaws--how can those be flaws? Flaws in others are what make the world beautiful and diverse. Really, the flaws in others aren’t flaws at all, but simply attributes that make individuals individual. 

To say there are flaws is to say there is a perfect measurement. 

And to say there is a perfect measurement is to say we are all failures. 

What is perfect then, and who measures it?

There is no perfect, and therefore no flaws (right?). Those, that society would have us view as flaws, are attributes.

So if the flaws in others are merely attributes, why are mine flaws? And what makes them great, if nothing more than to provide a meaningful essay topic?

Ugh. I suppose this is where I fail. This is where I end it then: unable to articulate greatness in flaws, unable to write a breakthrough piece that would help one me see their my flaws as attributes. 

Because, in my mind, I’m a dirty, and perhaps unworthy, exception to the rule.


Angelina said…
You have been trained to see yourself as flawed. People become horribly self critical to a crippling degree in one or two ways: religion teaches them this, or parents teach them this.

I didn't have religion to tell me I'm a dirty flawed imperfect failure of a person, my parents taught me this. But I notice this is a huge thing in religion, but most particularly with regard to women.

If you grow up with the people around you teaching you that imperfection is actually how we are supposed to be, that imperfections in ourselves is how we grow and learn and that they make us beautiful - you would never think otherwise.

The reason you do not criticize others the same way you criticize yourself is also, to some degree, learned. But I think here, where big hearts are concerned, where hugely empathetic beings are concerned, it's natural too, to see greatness in other people's flaws.

I see greatness in yours.


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