NOTE: I posted this about 6 years ago as one of my monthly posts but in reflecting on this New Year, I felt that it still had many powerful lessons for us to consider, connect with and embrace as we begin anew. Hence I decided to re-post it with a few tweaks, including the title, and hope that it resonates with you as you start your 2017 journey.
THE CRACKED POT
A water bearer in India had two large pots – one was perfectly made and the other one had a big crack in it – which he carried every day to draw water to bring to his master’s house, each one hanging on the pole he carried across his neck. The perfect pot never leaked while the cracked pot always leaked about half of its water and arrived only halfway full. The perfect pot was very proud of its accomplishments and what it was able to do while the cracked pot was embarrassed by its imperfection and sad that it was only able to do half of what it had been made to do. For two (2) years, the cracked pot went on feeling miserable until it finally got the courage to speak to the water bearer. He said, “I am ashamed of myself and want to say I’m sorry for only being able to deliver half of my water because of this crack in my side. Water is always leaking out all the way to the master’s house and because of this I am causing you more work and less recognition for your hard work.” The water bearer had compassion on the cracked pot and told him to take notice of all of the beautiful flowers along the way when they return to the master’s house that day. The cracked pot agreed and on the way back, saw all of the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this made him happy for a moment but he felt bad, when once again, they got to the master’s house and as always, he had leaked out half of its water. He apologized to the water bearer a second time. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, liked it and I took advantage of it. So, I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day when we’ve walked back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
Consider these six (6) lessons from this story for your own life:
1) WE ARE ALL CRACKED POTS- Some people’s cracks are more visible than others but we all have them and all of our cracks can produce something good – even great – whether it is pretty flowers along our path or internal strength and self-confidence. In a similar way, your child’s perceived ‘cracks’ from their preemie or special need journeys often provide and others sweet fragrances of life. Pause for a moment and ask yourself what’s flourishing, growing, or blossoming in your/your child’s life because of your cracks? Jot it down as your answer(s) may surprise you.
2) SPEAK OUT AND UP QUICK – The cracked pot felt bad, miserable and ashamed for two (2) whole years! What about you? How long do you beat yourself up? Is there something that is/has been eating at you, keeping you awake at night, gnawing at your sanity for days, months, years? If so, let it out now in whatever way that’s best for you.
3) BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND YOUR ABILITIES – The cracked pot thought that it wasn’t doing what it was designed to do. Many times, we can also feel like we are not doing all that we are capable of doing as a parent, an employee/employer, a spouse, a friend or a person all of the time. You may not be you know what? – that’s perfectly fine. Trust yourself that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it! This may mean that you need cut those 30 items on your daily to-do list down to 10, 5 or even 1….and make sure that a key item on your list is some ‘me’ time, in one way, shape or form. You may know by now, that self-care is a big thing for me, although admittedly I struggle with doing it consistently. Listen to and believe in your gut intuition both as a parent and as a person as this helps to shape and solidify your self-belief.
4) DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR OWN (OR YOUR CHILD’S) ‘IMPERFECTIONS’ – The cracked pot kept apologizing for its crack and the perceived negative impact of this crack. Likewise, sometimes we also have the tendency to repeatedly apologize for what we think is not quite right with us or our child. I’ve had many parents tell me how bad they feel when they have had to bring something up to their pediatrician or their child’s school about their child or a situation. They say things like: “I don’t want to be seen as the crazed and overprotective mom of ___(their child) or “I don’t want to rock the boat” or they start many a sentence with the words “I’m sorry for/about X____ (whatever it may be). If you do or are doing this, please stop. Rock that boat, be the crazed mom/dad and start celebrating you and/or your child’s imperfections. Remember: ‘perfect’ is in the heart of every imperfection.
5) STOP PROJECTING AND COMPARING – Like the cracked pot, many times we compare our perceived weakness (i.e. our cracks) to another person’s perceived strengths (i.e. their hidden cracks, I like to say) – and are all the more miserable for it.The cracked pot thought that he was causing the water bearer more work than the non-cracked pot, we also can sometimes project our insecurities onto others. This is often due to our own lack of self-confidence and our tendency to think others are expecting more from us than they really are.
6) KEEP THE GOOD ONES – The water bearer knew about the pot’s crack the whole time and still saw the beauty and blessings from it. The good people who are in your life who know about and have known about your cracks for some time (even when you try to hide them), who keep it to themselves and don’t talk bad about you to others, who don’t throw your flaws back up in your face, and who continue to love and support you and see your beauty regardless…..these are the good ones you need and want to keep really close by your side.
Lastly, just like the water bearer used the pot’s cracks to bring sweet smelling and beautiful flowers to his master’s table, I encourage you to be your own water bearer this year and look at your cracks for what they are and for what they give you and with both arms flung wide open, embrace all of your cracked pot self! (I say this in the best possible and most compassionate way🙂 – and in return, please stop for a moment and take notice (and pick a few if you like) of all of the beautiful, precious and most amazing flowers that have sprung up and are springing up because of you.
One way to start your year learning how to embrace all of your beautiful ‘cracks’ especially as a preemie and/or special needs parent, is to sign up for my FREE 3 -Part ‘From Overwhelm to Confidence’ Video Series: http://familiesblossoming.com/blog/confidence
As always, feel free to contact me http://familiesblossoming/about/contact-gigi at any time to let me know how I can help you blossom this New Year and always!
Wishing you a most Wonderful 2017,