Accepting Faults

I used to have a really hard time accepting other people’s faults. One of two things would happen: I would be upset and personally hurt by their failings if they somehow affected me. Or I would judge the person because “they weren’t perfect” and would think all sorts of negative thoughts, “Seriously?! What’s wrong with you? Don’t you have a clue?!”

Now, lest you judge me for thinking this stuff, let me tell you what my thoughts were rooted in. My thoughts were rooted in the need to be perfect and also in fear. I had the most ludicrous expectations for myself — expectations I could never live up to — which then lead me to be continually disappointed in myself and others. I could not accept faults in others because I could not accept faults in myself because I thought I always had to “do the right thing”.

“Do the right thing”. Whatever that means.

The fear part is wonderfully complex. There was the fear that, because we always have to do the right thing“, someone hurting me (and in essence doing the wrong thing) was the worst thing possible. I would almost be paralyzed — so disappointed, so angry, so completely unable to offer grace and forgiveness. I was afraid to be hurt because I just could not cope with it in any way.

But I was also deeply afraid that people would see my own faults, that I did not always “do the right thing”, that I was not perfect. I didn’t want to be fully known, because to be fully know me would be to see all of the ugliness I tried so hard to hide or deny. And because I didn’t know how to cope with the faults in others or myself, I was sure that my own ugliness would be met with the same judgmental, unforgiveness which I gave to others.

It was only when I stopped and was finally willing to look at my faults and accept that I did not always need to be perfect, and when my faults were met with grace by others, that I finally got it. I didn’t have to fear being known anymore. I didn’t have to fear being hurt by others. And I had a much stronger experience and sense of what love really is.

So, I’m growing out of all of those bad thoughts — the fear, the judgmentalism, the unforgiveness, the need to be perfect. And I know the next step is to not judge the “judgers” — the people who are just like how I used to be. I need to have grace with them too. And not because “someday they’ll realize they’re wrong”.  That’s not the point. Because if it is, it implies that whole “doing the right thing” again. I’m getting to the point now where I try not to judge others simply because I am no longer afraid of weakness.

Our lives are a mystery of growth from weakness to weakness, from the weakness of the little baby to the weakness of the aged. Throughout our lives, we are prone to fatigue, sickness, and accidents. Weakness is at the heart of each one of us. Weakness becomes a place of chaos and confusion if in our weakness we are not wanted; it becomes a place of peace and joy if we are accepted, listened to, appreciated, and loved. (Jean Vanier, Becoming Human)

Posted in Faith, Life & Faith | 6 Comments

6 Responses to Accepting Faults

  1. Toni says:

    I hope you can grow out of them, truly. My perception of faults in others tends to mushroom frequently and unpleasantly whenever someone stupid crosses me. 😉

    BTW the company that fired me back at Christmas 2008 had the screen saver on every company computer display the words ‘Do The Right Thing’. They didn’t know what it meant either.

  2. Carmen says:

    Great post Dixie. I think I’ll have to read Vanier’s book “Becoming Human” sounds thought provoking.
    All too often I can get caught up in being frustrated by others because of the pressure I put on myself.
    Your post was insightful and well written as always! Thanks for sharing it 🙂

  3. It’s one of my favourite books, Carmen! I hate to use such grandiose words, but it really was life changing for me.

    Have you read “Eat, Pray, Love”? It’s also a favourite.

  4. Carmen says:

    Haven’t read “Eat, Pray, Love” but I’m always looking for referrals for good books!! Yay! Now I have two!

  5. ruth says:

    love this dixie and i can relate to it on many levels.

    brian always tells me, “your judgements always come back to you” sometimes i wonder WHY i am sooo deeply bothered when i do something that i know was less than “perfect” and most often its because i know if someone ELSE did this thing (no matter how small or ridiculous) it would drive me up the wall! so i drive myself up the wall instead.

  6. Jean says:

    Dixie, I know where you are coming from. Beenthere, done that. I am still working on the above things you are working on. So, keep working and i will do the same. Love

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