Monday, April 20, 2015

Embrace your Flaws

Nothing is perfect.

All creatures have flaws. I feel like too often we see our flaws as weakness and we are much more able to use our own flaws against us than anyone else is. 

But back to my opening statement. We aren't perfect. We need to expect that we are going to have a few flaws. I think that by noticing them and accepting them we are liberated from them. We are now living with them instead of them being pieces of tarnish that we are constantly trying to slough off. We are now taking responsibility for them and their power over us is lesser.

But what are flaws anyways? I think they are subjective. What we feel to be a flaw in ourselves another person might find endearing. Some flaws are just a part of human nature. 

Here are some things that I have identified  as my flaws. 
  1. I can tend to worry unwarrantably. 
  2. I can tend to be over cautious when I truly don't want to be. 
  3. I can complain.
  4. I can take my parents for granted.
  5. I can lose perspective.
Will I always have these flaws? Maybe. Will I learn to move past them? Maybe. The basic fact is that I know they are there. The more you realize your flaws the more you can forgive yourself and the more you can give yourself a pass. 

I think there is a liberation in realizing and accepting your own vulnerabilities. People spend so much time trying to be perfect and it's fake and unrealistic. This is taking us too far from the real human experience. When we relax into the fact that we are vulnerable it makes life more genuine and interesting. 

The flaw of mine that bothers me the most. is the one about worry. As strongly as we try to relieve ourselves of it there are always times when worry can take grip of us again. It's just part of our nature. But I recently came across a passage in a book that offered me some good perspective on worry. 
When we are gripped by a worry, what do we do? We might struggle to shake it off. Or we try to convince ourselves that things are not the way they seem, failing which we seek to preoccupy ourselves with something else. How often do we embrace that worry, accept our situation, and try to understand it? Anguish maintains its power only as long as we allow it to intimidate us. By habitually regarding it as fearful and threatening, we fail to see the words etched on it by the Buddha: "Understand me." If we try to avoid a powerful wave looming above us on the beach, it will send us crashing into the sand and surf. But if we face it head-on and dive right into it, we discover only water. To understand a worry is to know it calmly and clearly for what it is: transient, contingent, and devoid of intrinsic identity. Where as to misunderstand it is to freeze it into something fixed, separate, and independent. Worrying about whether a friend likes us, for example, becomes an isolated thing rather than part of a process emerging from a stream of contingencies. This perception induces in turn a mood of feeling psychologically blocked, stuck, obsessed. The longer this undignified state persists, the more we become incapable of action. The challenge of the first truth is to act before habitual reactions incapacitate us.

This passage comes from the book Buddhism without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor and is clearly a Buddhist view on worry. Maybe somewhere in it something struck a chord with you, and if excessive worry is one of your flaws you may learn to quiet it.