Last week we looked at the benefits of accepting our weaknesses, this week we explore the psychological reasons we reject our weaknesses and explain what can be done to counteract this.
The Psychological Reasons We Reject Our Weaknesses
We immediately do anything to avoid humiliation. Humiliation can therefore have a big impact in terms of failing to accept our weaknesses. For instance, if we are in a team at work and are a senior staff member, the last thing we wish to do is accept we are bad at teamwork.
We can overcome this by accepting the truth that whenever we admit our flaws invariably we endear ourselves to others and often gain their respect, rather than inviting further criticism or put downs.
Sometimes when we behave in ways that are bad (like screaming at someone) we psychologically distance ourselves from our actions to avoid feeling shame.
Shame tells us we are something wrong as opposed to guilt, which is much more healthy an emotion and tells us we have done something wrong.
The trick here is to reassert that although we have done something wrong we are not unlovable or worthless. The redeeming thing about this approach is that it allows us to rectify the wrongdoing by apologizing, seeking to right the wrong and restoring the relationship or situation if possible whilst still retaining a sense of our inherent worth.
In today’s corporate world of work and with the media portraying everyone having ‘the perfect life’ competitiveness is rife. Whenever we compare ourselves to others or are competitive and wanting to be the best, we naturally distance ourselves from our shortcomings.
Being a type A personality and very goal orientated I suffered with comparing myself to others. To remedy this I needed to realize that everyone is on their own journey. Once you accept that we all have different strengths and weaknesses and there is no better or worse – just different – you will be well on your way to taking ownership of your weaknesses.
When our ego takes hold and we become prideful in our abilities we are much less likely to accept our weaknesses. Ironically, accepting our weaknesses is the very thing which will often cause us to overcome them, as when we do we can actively work to resolve them.
The best way to counteract this is to cultivate an attitude whereby you believe you can learn something from everyone, as everyone has different life experiences and accumulated wisdom.
To cultivate a humble heart see my top tips below:
- Don’t brag – ever
- Give credit to others freely
- Give compliments freely
- Seek out others opinions
- Be open to learning
- Be helpful
- Be quick to apologize and forgive
For some accepting their flaws is just too threatening to their sense of self. If you honestly can’t think of any flaw in yourself, however little, please consider taking the narcissist quiz and if you score high reading ‘Narcissism’ by Alexander Lowen (a self-help book for the recovering narcissist).
Being a perfectionist myself I can really relate to how it can mean you are less willing to accept your flaws. I struggled with this and aiming for perfection is a thankless task as you continually fall short because it doesn’t exist. When you can accept this truth it automatically becomes easier to accept that you have weaknesses just like everybody else.
If you also struggle with perfectionism and it is harming your functioning or causing you emotional distress I would encourage you to work through the CCI InfoPax called ‘Perfectionism in Perspective’.
Stay tuned – next week we will examine how authenticity and accepting our weaknesses feeds into one another and how we can benefit from this. We’ll also take a look at a nifty exercise that will enable you to be more compassionate towards yourself about your weaknesses.
Do you recognize yourself as having any of the psychological reasons we reject our weaknesses? Have you overcome these psychological blocks to accepting your weaknesses and if so, how did you do it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.