We live in a world that loves to find fault.
At least I do.
When I was in undergrad, I took a personality test. The number one adjective that chocked me up? Fault-finding. No joke. I felt embarrassed; I remember hiding my results from my classmates. But on the walk home that day, I decided that the test was unfortunately correct. I was fault-finding. I took perverse pleasure in finding errors in my teacher's lesson plans, in typos in newspapers and books. I reveled in calling out my friends and family members if they were ever hypocritical. And to this day, I can't help myself from sifting through the internet and finding flaws in the logic of writers.
This is probably why I don't have many friends.
Anyway, as much as I've tried to improve since my college days, I'm not much better today. For the past few weeks, it's dawned on me:
Finding fault is my biggest fault.
Case in point: I've been hosting several events at my restaurant lately. The event tonight was a fall kick-off party for a club of professional women in my hometown. As they started arriving in their nice clothes, I felt my old hyper-critical self kick into gear. I tensed up. Then the familiar internal dialogue started. Who do these women think they are? Oh my God they're all so proper. Are they doing enough to include everybody? Where are all the women of color? Wait, is this a racist club? I can't believe I'm hosting racists!
Irrationality at its finest.
As I sit here reflecting, the truth is staring me in the face. I'm finding fault because it's easier than finding something in common. Because I can get a quick jolt of energy from being right. Because I like to put distance between myself and people that I assume aren't like me.
But mostly...because I'm constantly finding fault with myself, and I'm jealous that other people aren't doing the same.
Reader, it's easy to find fault. In fact, it's downright primitive. I'm on a mission to evolve a bit, loosen up, extend some grace to myself and others, and maybe even find commonalities. The women tonight could not have been greater kindred spirits, and I'm glad I was able to forget my tendency to look for character flaws so that I could find all of our shared interests. In the end, it's nicer to be in a group of mutually flawed friends than righteous and alone.
I leave you with this picture of an 18-tiered Scandinavian cake I made this week. The picture on the left is what my first two cakes looked like. The picture on the right is the third cake I made. Hard as we may try, nobody is perfect. We're all flawed. And we could all stand to let go of the need to look for how much we're messing up so we can focus more on how to improve. With that, this flawed restaurant-running songwriter is off to bed. See you next Monday. -Em