You got ’em. I got ’em. Vegas hotels have got a gazillion of them. (Oh wait, that’s floors).
I’ve judged myself for the flaws I have.
But I’ve also learned some ways not to dwell on my obvious and not-so-obvious flaws so that I’m not continually beating myself to a pulp because of them. And I’ve learned some ways to keep my sense of self and my sense of confidence rolling, not in spite of these flaws, but because of them.
Ain’t Nobody Not Flawed
I could look at my flaws and conclude that I’m massively flawed. That would be logical. It would also be true, because I am. So you are you.
Flawed, flawedey, flawed-flawed.
If you think you’re too sensitive, others will share that. If you hate how you react to pressure, others will share that. If you wish you were better at the whole commitment thing, others will share that. If you wish you didn’t shrink away when in large groups, others will share that. And if you wish you could stop worrying so much, others will most definitely share that.
Flaws connect us.
They make us human.
They make us beautifully imperfect in ways that make us connect with each other and sometimes even fall in love.
Thinking that nobody else shares your flaws or that nobody is quite as flawed as you is, well, deeply flawed thinking.
Flaws Aren’t the Whole Story
If your flaws are all you see you’re missing a heap of cool stuff.
If you have a fiery temper you may also be incredibly passionate about the things you care about. If you have a hard time dealing with personal finances, you may have a wonderfully generous spirit. And if you find yourself getting stressed or anxious when the pressure piles up at work, perhaps you have the ability to empathize with your friends and colleagues.
Point is, you’re not just flaws.
The other side of the coin reveals a whole world of strengths and talents that you can apply in any moment you choose.
The talents that feel like someone’s just switched on the lights when you use them. The strengths that are the powerful combination of your skills, experience and aforementioned talents.
These are the things that makes you a force to be reckoned with, so have confidence in them.
You’re Not “Fixed”
As Carol Dweck ably points out in her fab book “Mindset”, people tend to either have a fixed mindset (i.e. the belief that your intelligence, talents, etc are fixed qualities) or a growth mindset (i.e. the belief that your qualities can be cultivated or nurtured through action).
It probably won’t come as much of a shock to you that those who have a more rounded or richer experience of life tend to be those who have a growth mindset, simply because any failure or setback isn’t seen as evidence of your shortcomings, but simply a thing that happened that you can grow out from.
Your flaws are not necessarily etched in stone. You could, if you chose to, work on one or two of them if doing so would help smooth the road ahead.
I’d argue that it’s better to apply your strengths and talents than it is to expend effort on improving a flaw, but there are times when that’s entirely appropriate.
When your eyesight prevents you from reading or taking part in sports. When your lack of personal management has you haemorrhaging cash. Or when you regularly piss off friends or family by disregarding their opinions out of hand.
The principle of neuroplasticity shows us that our brains continue to grow, adapt and change.
The last thing you are, is fixed.
So there’s ample room for changing things up.
Who Said You had to Be Perfect Anyway?
Perfectionism isn’t your way out of being flawed, it is a flaw.
Perhaps it’s the most damaging one of all, because it will rob you of your confidence and strip you of any sense that you’re okay.
It has you judging every step and beating yourself up for falling short.
Every. Single. Time.
Striving for perfection robs you of any chance to have a sweet, dumb, beautiful life, and nobody but you expects perfection.
Buddhist monk Shunryu Suzuki said “All of you are perfect just as you are and you could use a little improvement“, and I’d like to paraphrase that, if I may.
You’re deeply flawed and fucking beautiful.
So please, learn to hear that voice that drives you towards perfection and know that it’s bullshit.
A Chance for Course Correction
Sometimes, when you’re running low, in a rut or on the wrong road you’ll become more focused on your flaws.
The grind makes you look at your feet rather than up at the stars.
You beat yourself up more, using tiny details as evidence for not being good enough.
But when you notice that happening, when you notice that part of you that judges and blames yourself for where you are, you create an opportunity for course correction.
You might choose to apply one of your talents and strengths in a new or bold way. You might choose to go where the energy is instead of continuing where it isn’t. Or you might ask yourself some big questions, like what kind of experience you want to have or where you might be able to create real value.
Noticing your flaws, in a peculiar turnaround, can sometimes be the catalyst for meaningful change.
So, how about you? How do you manage your flaws or how do they help you?