If I understand one thing from my experience on this Earth it is this: People are a woefully flawed creature. Or in simpler terms, we are a collective hot mess. We think we are a Lear Jet and really we are a broken down plane crash in disguise.
But this, to me, is not the problem. In fact, as I’ll explain, it’s the solution. The problem is our problem with our problems and how that leads to our big problem with other people’s problems.
We don’t care much for flaws.
I often wonder why we have such a hard time admitting this.
For those like me whose flaws are so apparent–and so prominent on Google (thank you Internet!)–I guess it’s easier to admit, accept, address, and other A words that all explain the process of human transformation. Why fight it, we think? But more than that, for most of us who screwed up in a really big way, the key that unlocked the door to recovery was honesty. By admitting our crap we could start cleaning it up.
But others feel the pressure of image. They must maintain a select few, tolerable, quirky flaws at best. Enormous pressure to be deemed as good or honorable or laudable oppresses and censors truthful assessment and truthful behavior.
The result is we live the script of our lives as we think it should be instead of living our true lives.
The other result is we feed the hypocrisy that is really the grist for our social mill. We only hire “good” people. We only date “good” people. We only praise and associate with “good” people. We classify all the time.
This became apparent to me in a recent email exchange with the writer of a good blog called Dawn Revealed. Dawn invited me to write a guest piece. She changed one line (with my permission). She did so because my wording went against a lot of important psychology about self-love. I told her the psychology was wrong. In the end, she opted in favor of the psychologists expert opinion instead of my rather knucklehead opinion. I can’t say I blame her at all.
AH BUT! Even if I don’t blame her, I happen to have a little blog of my own, which means I don’t have to agree with her either! How cool is that? So here I get to win the argument and write it the way I intended.
Let’s take a look back in time shall we? Shhh. Yes, we shall. It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to. The graph in question I wrote came out in the final version as:
In that dark turn of my life I found it. I became honest. In writing the truth, I discovered the empowerment of a truthful life. Instead of saying “I am fucked up,” I began to admit “I fucked up.” In so doing, I became less so.
But I wrote it as:
Instead of saying “I fucked up,” I began to admit “I am fucked up.” In so doing, I became less so.
See the difference? It might be easier to discuss and appreciate without all the F-bombs, but something about a well-placed F-Bomb gets right to the harsh of the matter.
It’s interesting if you replace the F word with a the one I opted for at the top of this blog. Let’s try it again:
Instead of saying “I messed up,” I began to admit “I am flawed.” In so doing, I became less so.
See the difference? It doesn’t sound so harsh, so it’s less objectionable. Nobody really wants to be EFFed up. We want to be OK–The old I’m OK, you’re OK thing.
Dawn had a great point, which is why I didn’t mind in the least her changing my wording.
“‘I AM….’ is really powerful and so psychologists recommend NOT saying that…unless you are saying “I AM LOVE” and other positive things,” she wrote to me. “Saying “I AM FUCKED UP” makes you MORE so, according to the experts. Saying I fucked up means that you don’t have to take it on as an IDENTITY.”
It’s a great point. I’m a huge believer is positive self-talk. I relentlessly pump positivity in my brain because my knotty soul needs it like a heart needs blood. But I do think the psychologists are wrong. Sort of, anyway. I think admission, or let’s use a Biblical word people hate, confession is a powerful form of authenticity and honesty that heals us. I explained it to Dawn like this:
The confession removes the burden of trying to explain every mistake. It also removes all doubt I think I have it solved. But in so doing I embrace honestly the process of growth taking place. I made mistakes because I’m flawed. They are not aberrations as I’d like to think they are, but as I confront these flaws I am less likely to commit the mistakes that result. Thus, by admitting this reality of my less than perfect self, I become less fucked up than I used to be.
So I don’t admit I’m flawed as an identity, but a concession to the process of growing. I am not who I want to be yet or who I am becoming, but I’m sure as hell on the way. I am OK… and I am flawed.
We can be both OK and flawed, or to the point: EFFed.
Clearly this was one time the F-Bomb failed me. A different word, more carefully chosen would make this more understandable.
Nevertheless I think our back and forth is important and the right words are critical. It will remove the sheen of hypocrisy that plagues genuine relationship and human redemption.
I think a lot of people are sort of fucked up and I think there’s nothing wrong with that unless we won’t admit it. That’s when things go awry.
What I wonder about though, is why that thought hit such a nerve? Feel free to explain it to me and correct me in the comment section below. And rest assured, I have more to say on this, as you’ll see in my next post.