You got ’em. I got ’em. Vegas hotels have got a gazillion of them.
I’ve judged myself for the flaws I have. But I’ve also learned some ways to not continually beat myself to a pulp because of them. And I’ve learned some ways to keep my sense of self-efficacy and self-worth rolling, not in spite of these flaws, but because of them.
So if you sometimes find yourself thinking “I am flawed” and thinking less of yourself, here are some ideas for you.
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.
You’re too sensitive. You hate how you react to pressure. You wish you were better at the whole commitment thing. You wish you didn’t shrink away when in large groups. You wish you could stop worrying so much.
We all have flaws. Flaws connect us. They make us human.
They make us wonderfully imperfect in ways that make us connect with each other, and 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 way more complex, far richer, and way bigger than any flaw.
There’s a whole world of strengths, talents and capability that you can apply in any moment you choose, and leveraging those things is air to the lungs of self-worth.
You’re Not “Fixed”
As Carol Dweck ably points out in her much-lauded 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 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, like 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.
Who Said You had to Be Perfect Anyway?
For some, perfectionism is their chosen route out of being flawed. If I can do this perfectly, they think, then I’ve beaten my flaws.
But perfectionism isn’t your way out of being flawed, it is a flaw.
It’s convenient to think of it as a strategy that will mask your flaws, but it will rob you of your confidence and strip you of your self-worth. It has you judging every step and beating yourself up for falling short.
Every. Single. Time.
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.
Don’t give in to perfectionism. It won’t make you stronger, or better, or more accepted. It will just make you feel ineffective and unworthy.
So, how about you? How do you manage your flaws or how do they help you?