Recently I have met a lot of new people and have been struck by how everyone has trials and challenges no matter how serene and together they appear at a glance. Whether it is an online dating profile, a resume, or a first meeting at a party people present themselves as being ready to take on the world and without weaknesses and as you get to know them you discover more of them. It is true on the home front too, of course - I am sure that people meet me and hear me pontificating on something or other with my usual endless confidence and then end up disappointed along the way as I bumble about.
It has really struck home the idea that we tend to look around at others and assume they have everything we can't see all sorted out. We hide away the parts of ourselves that aren't working and the challenges we face and doing so ends up impressing others but sometimes cuts us off, I think. I know I feel closer to people when they share their difficulties and when I understand the things that bring them pain. They feel more real at that point, more human, more relatable. As Homer Simpson says "Why do stories of degradation and humiliation make you more popular?" They sure do have that effect though. Someone who has hard times and things they aren't good at is someone I can understand whereas somebody for whom everything is easy and who has never been devastated is somehow alien.
I don't long to hangout with people who can't do anything right and whose lives are a total trainwreck. I guess it just feels more comfortable to know that the people around me are good at some things and bad at others and have good days and bad days just like I do. Seeing the flaws and challenges in other's lives makes me a lot more able to accept my own. The world looks like a much more inviting place when I note that it is filled with people, just people, not little ole me and a bunch of Supermen/Superwomen. When I screw up it is a source of comfort to know that I am in fact not the only one.
Note: If you read this and think "Sky is talking about me! He thinks I have all kinds of flaws!" then you are mistaken. I probably do think you have flaws since presumably you aren't perfect but I am talking about a huge variety of people with challenges across the spectrum most definitely including myself.