Pull the Weeds, Discover the Flower

Raessa - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on May 4, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

For as long as I could remember, I have been a die-hard perfectionist. If something I was doing ever went wrong, whether it be overcooking a meal or doing an assignment for school, I would become embarrassed and blame myself. Little did I realize, the imperfections that I would cower from made me perfect at whatever task I was taking on, because I learned to pay more attention and be less careless with whatever I was doing. By accepting my imperfections, not only do I learn from my mistakes, my mind is also freed of any unnecessary worry.

When I was seven years old, I became infatuated with the culinary arts. Every time my mom would cook, I was at her side, observing. It was not long before I became accustomed to her cooking style and started cooking on my own. As the years went by, my culinary skills became even sharper, and I was dubbed one of the best cooks in my family. Yet one day as I was baking cookies, I disregarded my cookbook’s timing instructions. Instead of letting them bake for ten minutes, I left the cookies in for half an hour. Guess what: they all burned. I was so ashamed of my carelessness that I could not bear to face my family. All I could think about were the disappointed faces I would have to face when I told my family I had ruined dessert.

After I had burned the cookies, I went to my mom for comfort. If there is anything that my parents have taught my siblings and me, it is to embrace our imperfections. She told me that instead of being embarrassed, I should just learn from the experience and move on. Since that time, I have changed a lot when I cook.

Instead of neglecting what I am cooking, I make it a habit to check on the food frequently to make sure that it does not burn. That experience also taught me to stay alert of my responsibilities in general: keep at them until they are finished completely and as perfectly as possible.

By accepting our imperfections, we exercise humility. By admitting our mistakes, not only do we begin to feel better, we humble ourselves to the point of realization: we are only human, and we have faults. Embracing our imperfections strengthens us and makes us sharper in that particular area. Once we have messed up something, the lesson keeps us alert for the next time around.