Robert Merton, who is credited with coining the phrase “self-fulfilling prophecy” said “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves.”
Isn’t that how we all wish to be loved? Not perfectly as someone we are trying to be, not perfectly as an ideal, but perfectly as what WE were designed to be.
Webster’s offers this definition of perfect - “being complete of its kind without defect or blemish.” Call me an idealist, but I do believe that each and every person is complete in their unique perfection and that personal perfection is something we allow in ourselves, not something we strive toward. Because we are all complete “of our kind” - there IS no one like us!
I will bet that your mind went one of two places - you are either thinking of the people you wish could love you as perfectly YOURSELF or you are thinking of the people you love and asking yourself if you are loving them as perfectly THEMSELVES.
But what about how you love yourself?
Are you able to love yourself as the perfect being you ARE?
Ah, I heard that. The little whisper that says “but I am NOT a perfect being, far from it.”
In Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” there is a line that says “Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything - that’s how the light gets in.”
Then there is the story told to me by friend, peace advocate and proponent of radical trust, Annette Karr, about an athlete who was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a leg amputated above the knee. He spent his recovery time at a cancer center where they offered psychiatric therapy as part of the post-treatment care and the first time he saw the therapist she asked him to draw a picture to represent himself.
He drew a crude vase with jagged lines crossing it. When the therapist asked what the lines represented he told her those were cracks - he said he had once been a perfect vessel, but now he was irreparably flawed.
Time went on and this man began to heal. He took an interest in other patients, helped with their ongoing recoveries and even met and married another patient at the center. Some time later he visited with the therapist again. She asked him again to draw a picture.
He drew the same crude vase and the same jagged cracks, but this time he drew lines radiating from the cracks. When the therapist asked what they represented he said, “that is the light that pours out of me, it could not be shared before because I was too perfect.”
Does the light get in or does it pour out?
Yes, it does - both.
But only when we love ourselves as perfectly ourselves; when we accept our “cracks” as the blessings that they are.