This is a story I was sent years ago. I’m not sure who wrote it. It seems important in these stress-filled days when we think being perfect is the answer to our problems.
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 man delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house.
The perfect pot was proud of its perfection and accomplishments. 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, and 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 my house.”
Each of us is a cracked pot. But, it’s the flaws we have that make our lives so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them. Especially yourself.
I will be exploring the dangers of perfectionism over the next few weeks and offer tips for breaking free from its stranglehold.