We hate our “flaws.” The traits we’ve deemed as flaws. We hate that we’re too sensitive. We hate that we’re slow learners. We hate that we cry so easily and get anxious so quickly. We hate that we’re indecisive (making decisions also makes us nervous….of course).
We tend to be naive, and we hate that, too.
We think we’re weak. We’re too serious. We aren’t as productive as we want to be, as we think we should be. We’re easily distracted. We’re impatient. We’re insecure (and we’re insecure about that). We care too much about what others think about us. It took us wayyyyy too long to stop drinking or to end a toxic relationship or to right a wrong. We see all of this as devastating flaws, too.
We hate that we make mistakes. And, when we do, our inner-critic goes for the jugular. The words are cruel, and the insults fly more frequently.
In an earlier piece, I mentioned this suggestion: When the inner-critic starts roaring, think of yourself as a character in your favorite book, a character you’re simply trying to get to know. A character with a rich history who’s doing her or his best. Because doing so may lessen the judgment and quiet the cruel words. It may help you see yourself in a different light—maybe even a kinder, more tender light.
Yes, we judge characters all the time. We like them. We hate them. We wonder why the heck they do what they do. But, ultimately, we appreciate their humanity. It is the quirks and flaws of characters that make them interesting and compelling and complicated and real. It is quirks and flaws that make characters believable, that make them rise above one-dimensional caricatures.
It is our flaws, too, that make us interesting, compelling, and real. It is our flaws that help us to connect to others, to empathize with them, to understand what it’s like when things are hard, when things don’t turn out the way we wanted.
It is our flaws that help us to see others, and make it okay for them to be themselves, too. Our so-called flaws may invite others to reveal their so-called flaws, to reveal their raw, tarnished selves. And this is where true, meaningful connection takes place.
Without our so-called flaws, we’d be stick figures. We’d be shells or skeletons without any muscle, meat or substance. We wouldn’t have room to grow or to learn or to discover and rediscover.
Maybe you don’t get to a point where you embrace your flaws, or accept or even tolerate them. Not yet. But maybe you can get to a point where you understand that they must exist. Because you are human. And humans fail, and humans fall. And they inevitably get back up again. And again. And again.
What if you started seeing yourself as a character, a compelling, complicated, fascinating, sometimes contradictory character? What if you started seeing your flaws as giving you substance, as giving you the space and opportunity to flourish?