For over 20 years, mom has made weekly trips to see Deb, her hair dresser. Often my mother would regale me with tales of woe. Not her own, but poor Deb's. My mom, a psychotherapist by training, had great empathy for Deb, a single mother whose history was marred by misfortune. But there was only one problem with this relationship. Deb could not cut hair.
Climbing the desert landscape to pay our respects on this sweltering day, my mother wonders with a smile, would my father enjoy the extra effort it takes to brave snakes and extreme heat in the summer, and below freezing temperatures and snow in the winter, just to say hello? We decide that he would. He enjoyed watching people squirm. I am like him in that way.
It's no easy feat to admit to flaws, because that means they're real and we have to confront them. Accepting our mistakes or shortcomings -- choices that may not have served us well, unflattering ways others may perceive us, or subtle imperfections that gnaw away at us -- is uncomfortable in the short-term, but acknowledging them can ward off long-term problems.