The Chinese translation of ‘paper tiger’ is zhi laohu.
A paper tiger refers to someone or something that appears outwardly strong and even fearsome but, in actuality, is not. The term has been used to describe nations, and people, and circumstances. I’m sure at times people also use it to quell their anxieties, even when faced with life’s real and present challenges.
This is just a paper tiger.
It’s a cool term.
I think I might like a paper tiger on my desk, front and center, to remind me that most of life’s challenges appear to be scarier than they turn out to be. This I have learned, time and time again.
But you know what else I would like?
A paper snowflake.
That which appears as perfect as nature’s frozen fractals, but is not really.
It seems to me that, while ‘paper tiger’ at first creates fear and anxiety in the person regarding or confronting it, so too does a ‘paper snowflake’.
The lure of perfection being a powerful force.
But here is the thing.
It is an untruth, a falsehood.
A trick of the mind.
And here is the kicker.
It’s actually a trick in the mind of the beholder.
I want a paper snowflake for my desk (and I would love to send you one too), to remind me of something I absolutely believe.
I actually have a great deal of faith, a powerful faith, that no one – not one single human being on the planet old enough and sane enough to consider the concept – believes they are perfect.
And I believe it is unfair to anyone, including myself, to deduce such an illusion from what I can observe of someone’s life, or stories, or smiles or songs.
Because the whole idea of perfection is a paper snowflake.
The melting of which is beautiful for the soul to behold.
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I looked up the Chinese translation for ‘paper snowflake’: Zhi xuehua.
Pretty, isn’t it?