When I was growing up I was bullied and frequently used to be called ugly. One of the coping mechanisms I adopted was to place a great deal of importance on my appearance. In reality I over compensated and became quite vain. For years I was blind to my own vanity until I began to accept myself, including my weaknesses.
What I soon discovered was that, in acknowledging my own vanity, I had empowered myself to overcome it. Like so many of us I had resisted acknowledging my weaknesses because it felt safer that way; it was scary to accept that there was a disconnect between my perception of myself and the reality of how I thought and behaved.
But once I did everything changed. I was able to examine why I was vain and see if my vanity served any psychological need. I was able to explore how I could fulfill the psychological need it served in a more healthy way.
By analyzing myself and my weaknesses in this way, I was able to overcome them; something I could never have done if I had been unwilling to accept my weaknesses in the first place.
In this series I will reveal how not accepting our weaknesses causes so many of to remain stuck, damaging our personal development and preventing us from stepping into our full potential.
Throughout the series I will walk you through the process step by step – all that is required from you is the courage to be completely honest and the self-esteem to know your innate worth despite your flaws.
Benefits of Accepting Your Weaknesses
When you know your weaknesses, you can play to your strengths more. For example, if you suffer from social anxiety when in big groups or at parties you could arrange intimate gatherings with friends instead so that you will be more at ease and able to invest more into your friendships.
This isn’t to say that you should avoid big groups or parties and accept your weakness as absolute but rather that if you decide you want to work on your social anxiety (insert any weakness) you can work on it gradually, thereby placing less immediate pressure on yourself. Hence, once we accept our weaknesses we are empowered to work on them, thereby improving – and even overcoming them – in time.
When you are aware of your weaknesses you can also train yourself to look out for your triggers. For example, if I am anxious when meeting new people I can calm myself in advance by meditating and thinking about possible conversation starters.
Accepting your flaws, you are also in a better position to seek out people with the skill sets you may lack. Do you have difficulty with public speaking? Seek out a colleague who is confident giving presentations and propose a collaboration. This way you can capitalize on the others skill set and also take the opportunity to learn from them.
When you accept your weaknesses you also give yourself the opportunity to foster greater self-compassion. When I first acknowledged I had a tendency to be vain I gave myself the opportunity to be compassionate towards myself, realizing that I had used it as a coping mechanism whilst also understanding it was an outdated one.
If you suffer from a relentless inner critic please read my article titled ‘How to Silence Your Inner-Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend Through Self-Compassion’ so you too can treat yourself with compassion and understanding when it comes to your flaws.
In accepting your flaws you also allow yourself to develop greater empathy for others because you are aware of how challenging it can be to live with weaknesses.
Stay tuned – next week we will explore the psychological reasons we reject our weaknesses and look at how to counteract this.
Can you think of any other benefits to someone accepting their weaknesses? Do you suffer from an unrelenting inner-critic? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.