How To Stop Sabotaging Your Own Progress – Part Four
Last week we examined how authenticity and accepting our weaknesses feeds into one another and how we could benefit from this. We also took a look at a nifty exercise that helped you to be more compassionate towards yourself when it comes to your weaknesses. This week we explore why accepting our weaknesses needn’t mean resigning yourself to them and how to continue improving, even overcoming them in time.
Why Accepting Your Weaknesses Doesn’t Mean Resigning Yourself to Them
Whilst it is important to fully accept our weaknesses this needn’t mean resigning yourself to them. I worked on my vanity by starting to go out without make up on and today I don’t place value upon myself based on my appearance.
Whilst it may sound like a contradiction to both accept your weaknesses and then work upon improving them, in fact it is quite the opposite. When we accept who we are completely, flaws and all, we are then in a perfect position to work on improving ourselves, because we are doing so from a self-compassionate and loving place – the ideal environment for genuine growth.
Though some may choose to berate themselves for their weaknesses with the aim of eradicating them, this is often ineffective because they are essentially rejecting themselves and creating self-loathing which psychologically creates a helpless mentality – needless to say this is not conducive to inspiring real growth.
How to Work Upon Improving Your Weaknesses
One of the best ways of improving in the area of our weaknesses is to analyze it a little. Don’t worry it’s easy enough to do, just follow the two simple steps below…
1. Why do you have the weakness?
Firstly ask yourself why you have the weakness.
Practically speaking, did you prioritize working on other things when you were growing up?
Do you have any fears surrounding the weakness that have meant you have avoided working on it? Remember when it comes to fear, facing it makes the fear lesson and avoiding it makes it grow worse.
When you are being proud and compensate for [insert your weakness], how does it make you feel in the moment? Does it provide protection or relief and from what? Does it boost your ego or make you feel superior? These answers will reveal the psychological function of the weakness and what you need to tackle most in order to overcome it! For example when I was proud about my appearance I compensated for my perceived lack of beauty by becoming vain and it boosted my ego and made me feel superior, providing me with relief from feeling ugly. I overcame this by working on my self-esteem and basing my self worth upon my character.
2. Address the reason why.
If there is a practical reason why you have the weakness like you simply focused on other things then begin to work on your weakness step by step, breaking it down into manageable bits.
If you have any fears surrounding the weakness (like a fear of driving – something I have struggled with too) then I’m afraid the only way is to face the fear. You can do this by gradually building up in difficulty. For example, by driving with someone in the car with you, then working up to driving with someone you know behind you, to eventually driving alone. Once you are comfortable driving alone you could then build up to driving longer distances for example.
If you have a psychological function for your weakness (like in my case with vanity) you need to feed this psychological function with something psychologically healthier – a mental health kick if you like. For me, this was by deriving my self-esteem from my character instead of my looks.
In reality it takes a great deal of courage to look at ourselves and honestly assess what our weaknesses are, however, the benefits of such an approach to life are wide-ranging and incredibly life enhancing.
Self-awareness and leading an authentic life – with all the liberation and joy this brings – are just some of the advantages to accepting our weaknesses. And the most crucial advantage? The opportunity for growth and developing into our best selves.
All this and more can be yours with just a little reflection, self-compassion and a willingness to work on living your best life.
Do you struggle to accept your weaknesses? Can you now work upon your weaknesses from a self-compassionate and loving place? If not what would it take for you to get to this emotional space? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.
Following using psychology to transform my life, I founded Accessible Psychology to help empower others to live the life they long for. My journey is living testimony that no matter where you are, absolutely everyone can apply psychology in order to lead more fulfilling lives.
Oh and I love Oprah, Marie Forleo, Tony Robbins and lovely people like you!