Years ago, when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease and was making a lot of mistakes with the gluten-free diet, I used to hide my digestive distress from everyone at work. The work scene, I thought, required me to be perfect. Being sick wasn’t perfect!
I was a teacher of adult international students, and when I would get glutened at an end-of-course celebration dinner, I would hide it and carry on as best I could, dutifully smiling on stage while handing out certificates to students, even though my gut was churning in ominous turmoil and my abdomen was bloating up several sizes. I did not admit that everything was not perfect with me.
Being debilitated with this disease felt like a weakness or a flaw. It did not feel perfect.
Being normal was the only way to be perfect – and the symptoms of celiac disease were not normal.
But now I ask, what is “normal”? If we have to be perfect to be normal, then no one can be normal. Everyone has some kind of flaw.
So… it is normal to be flawed.
I am learning now that it is kinder to myself and to everyone else to let my flaws show.
As Byron Katie says in her book Question Your Thinking, Change the World, “Give us permission, through you, to have a flaw, because flaws are the norm. When you hide your flaws, you teach us to do that. We are all waiting for one teacher, just one, to give us permission to be who we are now. That’s such a gift to give. The pain is in withholding it. Who else is going to give us permission to be free, if not you? Do it for your own sake, and we’ll follow.”
P.S. I’m a counsellor. Are you having trouble being compassionate with yourself about your flaws? Let’s work on it! We can do sessions in my Victoria BC office, or over Skype. Contact Sherry.