A teacher took in a young apprentice to transmit him all his knowledge.
Every day, the apprentice was in charge of bringing two buckets of water from the source to the site where the lessons were taught.
However, one of the vessels was broken so when the young apprentice finally arrived with his charge, one was half empty.
This was one of his duties for more than a year, although he knew he didn’t comply with the directions of his teacher by the way that didn’t come fully loaded.
One day, the young apprentice ashamed of not being able to fulfill the request of his teacher, said:
– Master, I’m really not able to fulfill your request to bring the two pots of water. One has breaks and loses water along the way.
The teacher replied:
– Boy, don’t be sorry about that. Thanks to the breaks of your bucket we have daily fresh flowers that brighten our view and cheers us with its scent.
The boy surprised, asked:
– How is it possible?
The Master answered:
– Some time ago I realized that one of the pot was broken, so I decided to plant seeds along the way you travel every day. Thanks to that, the seeds have flourished and I collect beautiful flowers all the time.
At that time the boy realized that, someway, we’re all broken vessels. However, we must not hide the breaks but examine them to take advantage of them.
Breaks that enrich our emotional lives
Everyone has breaks, these are wounds to show we have loved and suffered, that we have been passionate and also wrong. However, we tend to hide these “wounds” as if were making us worse people. Sometimes we’re even ashamed of them.
However, these breaks are what make us unique, they’re the mark of our journey through life. The heartbroken by the breakdown of the first love, the pain for the death of a special person, the outrage at injustice or an error we made driven by inexperience … All these cracks form a unique blend to define us. In fact, if someone really wants to understand us, if he/she wants to know who we are and why we’re that way, is there where they should look.
Those mistakes we made are what make us strong today. In fact, the poet Mario Benedetti once said that “perfection is a polished collection of errors”. Every time we fall and rise again, we become a new person, with more experience.
However, the most interesting thing is that cracks also remind us constantly our vulnerability. The mistakes, the “failures” and, ultimately, the wounds they leave, have the potential to turn us into sensitive and stronger persons at the same time.
But this surprising dichotomy occurs only when we’re able to appreciate the importance of the cracks and take advantage of them, as did the master of the story. If we hide them we’ll become insensitive and irresponsible people, afraid to live.
On the contrary, if we assume that these cracks are true treasures, we embrace vulnerability and learn to live fully here and now. Because recognizing that we’re vulnerable actually brings us closer to the other persons and allows us realize what a wonderful gift is the present.
Things you should never be ashamed of
1. To have loved. Love is always a gamble, but a gamble where you always win because even though you lost, and the relationship is finished, you will always cherish those beautiful moments. Therefore, you’ll never have to be ashamed of having loved too much.
2. Have been wrong. The errors only mean that you’ve tried. Only those who don’t do nothing, who doesn’t comply standing still, are never wrong. Every mistake hides a lesson for life. Therefore, don’t regret your mistakes, learn from them and move on.
3. Have been angry. Although society catalogs anger as a negative emotion, the truth is that suppressing it is even worse. It’s normal to get angry in some situations, we just have to learn to channel that emotion without hurting others. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Utrecht revealed that when people get angry and express it, they achieve focusing better their energy on their goals and realize them more easily.
4. Felt lost. Sometimes it is necessary lose ourselves to find us once again. When everything around you is crumbling and can’t find a meaning to what you do or who you are, the best thing to do is step back to explore new paths, even if you have to do it groping. If you felt lost at some point in your life, you don’t have to be ashamed because you’re not supposed to know all the answers, but just to commit to the search.
5. Having suffered. Many people, when looking back, reproach themselves for having suffered so much and “in vain”. However, suffering includes always a powerful message: it teaches you that you are human and vulnerable. Remember that sometimes, you need to touch the bottom to get out a situation. Never hide your pain or things that made you suffer, those experiences have made you the person you’re today.
Aarts, H. et. Al. (2010) The Art of Anger. Reward Context Turns Avoidance Responses to Anger-Related Objects Into Approach. Psychological Science; 21(10): 1406-1410.