Taken from Story #85 of Ajahn Brahm’s “Good? Bad? Who Knows?”
When you have a healthy sense of self-worth, then you don’t need to play the “I Am Better Than You” game. You don’t need to prove yourself. A healthy sense of self-worth comes from realising the true meaning of being perfect.
A woman walked in a forest looking for a perfect tree. All she saw were crooked trees, trees with missing branches, and trees with damaged barks. Then she went into a government managed plantation where she saw all the trees perfectly arranged in rows and lines, perfectly straight with all the branches perfectly in place.
She realised that the damaged trees in the natural forest were far more beautiful and calming than the “perfect” trees in the artificial plantation. Then she also understood that so called “damaged” people are so much more beautiful than artificial people.
She began to feel at home with herself, as much as she felt at home in the natural forest with all the gnarled and crooked trees.
She understood the real meaning of perfection. She had been for a long time “good enough”. Only in the forest did she realise it.
I personally like this story. I used to beat myself up when I’ve made a mistake or didn’t live up to my expectations. Also it made me judgemental about others, as I imposed my expectations towards or found faults in others… The beauty of this teaching is, once I could embrace, accept and forgive myself, I could see the beauty in my “mistakes”. They became perfect in their own imperfection… and with that, I also see more beauty from others.
Hope the story resonates with you too. No matter what, we all are good enough… always.
PS: Coincidentally, Ajahn Brahm gave a talk last week (2 Dec) on this theme. So I thought of addding the talk in here. May this help you in some ways.