Saturday, June 20, 2009

Incomplete People?

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When things are quiet and I’m left to my own contemplative devices, I think a lot about life and the events and circumstances I’ve gone through which have made me who I am today. I think about how all of us are made up of unique experiences, exposures and ideas whether good, bad, wrong or right. I think about the shy parts of me, the sensitivities I possess and the strengths I have been able to develop. I think about the fears and misgivings within me and trace them back in an effort to somehow uncover what seeds in my life might have caused them to take root. I consider the conditions which were ripe enough to allow them room to grow. I also think about what I have been able to overcome as well as those things I have yet to conquer. I’m certainly not perfect - very far from it in fact. I think I learn and re-learn new things on an almost daily basis, but that’s the way I like it.

I used to think there were certain things inherently wrong in me, and I spent a fair amount of time lamenting the facts and circumstances of my past life which I could not change. In large part when identifying my own weaknesses, I often deferred to my upbringing and the lessons taught (or not taught) to me by my parents.

My parents were loving people, and I never really doubted their caring and the fact they wanted to do right by me and my siblings. Because of circumstances in their own lives, they simply were not equipped to meet all of the challenges associated with raising children. I used to attribute my shortcomings in life to my parents' shortcomings in raising me. I figured despite all of my faults I turned out fairly well, notwithstanding the fact I was raised by loving but somewhat broken people who were lacking in their own ways and stumbling over their own hurts and disappointments in life.

Then one day I started really thinking about that sentiment and how unfair it was to think of someone as “broken” or “damaged”. After all we are all imperfect works in progress, so who was I to consider anyone else broken? Broken in comparison to what or whom? Is there anyone on this planet who is perfect and unblemished without a single hurt, or aren’t we all walking around with a few pieces of tattered duct tape holding together our fragile souls? In essence we could all be considered broken in some way or fashion. If that is the case, then there truly exists no perfect ideal with which to compare. If no pristine, untarnished example exists to demonstrate the perfection, then none of the others could be considered inferior. Rather, they are all at varying stages of development all moving toward the same goal.

The fact is I know with all certainty my parents did the best job they knew how to do, and I would be willing to bet your parents did the best they knew as well. I don’t think anyone would purposely choose the opposite of what they know is right and what they know they are capable of. I think for the most part, we all do the best with what we are given in all aspects of our lives. The difference is some are given more early on, while it takes more time for others to catch up.

I realized then it is not that any of us are broken, damaged or wounded. It would be more accurate to say we are still incomplete and not yet finished transforming into the magnificent creatures we are meant to be.

We all learn and develop at different rates. Occasionally we may choose the wrong path in life or innocently allow ourselves to be directed inappropriately in a way that sets us back from the goal of our life. The learning curve may be widened a bit more for a time, but no matter the detour, it is no reason to consider that it’s “GAME OVER” for our lives. It might take a little extra effort to right ourselves, but we can always find a way to get back to where we need to be to continue learning and growing into who we are meant to be.

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