5 Flaws I’ve Learned to Use To My Advantage

5 flaws that I have learned to use to my advantage. It's all about how you perceive things and what you do to make a better life for yourself!

So this title is a bit of a misnomer.

What I term “flaws” are not really things I view in a negative light (anymore), but traits that have the ability to pull me down if I let them. In fact, for many years I allowed them to do just that.

The following five “flaws” are some of the ones that I’ve learned to use to my advantage over time.

1. People pleasing

Although it sounds pleasant, “people-pleasing” actually has a negative connotation. In many, if not all, cases, it stems from a lack of self-confidence and exhibits itself in a perpetual need to make sure that everyone else’s needs are met before your own. I operated this way for a very long time, changing my own opinions at the drop of a hat to make sure that I was what someone wanted me to be and overcommitting myself to avoid having to say “no.”

While I’ve managed to break my people-pleasing cycle, it has taught me valuable lessons about self-care and boundaries. Without experiencing the effects of people-pleasing on my own sanity and well-being, I never would have been able to realize that there was a less destructive way to interact with others. I still love to help people, but now I do it it in a way that allows me to respect myself as well.

2. Anxiety

I feel like I always operated under some level of anxiety. Until I started medication last year, I had no idea how much. I thought that my constant worry and fear of anything out of the ordinary was simply a normal way to live. Before every class I taught and client I trained I would have to give myself a pep talk and tell myself I could get through it. Don’t even get me started on my fears that for some reason I would be thrown back in jail every time I went to check in at probation.

My level of anxiety was not normal. Sure, everyone gets nervous in new situations or when they encounter a change, but mine was on a whole other level. Once I felt some of that anxiety dissipate, I felt like I could finally breathe again despite being unaware that I was even suffocating. Although my anxiety levels are much less, they taught me that I can get through any situation. Sometimes it takes a pep talk, but really all you have to do is take that one step and start walking.

3. Addiction

I think this one is pretty evident. This blog, my writing, and the opportunities that continue to arise are all a direct result of my struggle with addiction. When I made the decision to turn my life around, I had two main choices. Either I could scrape by and try to push it all behind me or I could take everything that I went through and make something much, much more out of it.

What point is there in going through something as difficult as addiction and risking your life on a daily basis if you don’t do something with it? As soon as I decided to climb out of that way of life, I knew that I needed to find a way to help others and bring addiction into the light.

4. Overintellectualization

This one drives me absolutely crazy sometimes. Give me a situation, comment, decision, etc. and I can think it to death. I’m very good at taking emotion out of situations and thinking about something from a million different angles.

In the past, this used to look like me overanalyzing something someone said or never quite being able to take things at face value. I would worry myself sick and go over things repeatedly in my head. These days, I know that I have this tendency and I try to use it for good instead of personal sabotage. It allows me to more thoroughly think through a decision for all possible outcomes and be more prepared.

5. Procrastination

I fought procrastination for a long time. I made myself feel bad because I did it and felt that if I were more responsible, I would get things done immediately. This brought a lot of self-doubt and shame, which we all know doesn’t help anyone.

One day I realized that I don’t have to feel bad for procrastinating. I realized that I actually operate better under pressure than if I give myself more time. Once I accepted that, I spent less time stressing out that I wasn’t getting something done and instead was able to schedule it for when I knew I would actually work on it (usually a day or two in advance).

Finally, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Neil today! Leave him some love in the comments. HE’S GOT HIS EYES OUT FOR THEM.

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Questions:

  • What “flaws” have you learned to use to your advantage?
  • What’s been going on this week? I feel so out of the loop after traveling.

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud!

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40 Comments

  1. David
    April 7, 2016 / 5:30 am

    *High fiVe Erin* for your accomplishments, and happy birthday to Neil!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:42 am

      Thanks David!!

  2. April 7, 2016 / 6:02 am

    I would tell Neil happy birthday, but I’m going to procrastinate on that one 😀
    You and I are both very intellectual, very self reflective, but we also need a kick in the pants. Luckily, we aim to surround ourselves with people who will do just that 😀
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Currently… April 2016My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:42 am

      Totally. Sometimes I need lots of kicks 🙂

  3. April 7, 2016 / 6:19 am

    I used to be such a people pleaser. It wasn’t until my 30’s that I realized that by doing this I was never happy. You can’t please everyone and the most important person to please is yourself. A difficult thing to realize! Happy birthday Neil!
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…Is Sugar Making You Fat? My Sugar ExperimentMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:43 am

      Yeah I struggled w thinking that was selfish for a long time until I finally realized how important it was!

  4. April 7, 2016 / 6:56 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NEIL!
    I’ve noticed my people pleasing “flaw” has contributed quite a bit to my corporate ladder climbing at work (totally not my intention, but I can see how it’s helped). I’m in a position where I’m brought in to assess things and have to coach leaders on what to do, and they’ve been way more receptive to my advice compared to others in a similar role knowing my history with the organization and genuine wanting to help make everyone happy. It’s also the reason why I’ll never be a manager or leader, haha!
    Bri recently posted…Why analytical thinkers and problem solvers make the best ultramarathonersMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:43 am

      Haha I can understand that. I’m a terrible manager and it stresses me out like crazy.

  5. April 7, 2016 / 8:59 am

    Great post, Erin! I completely relate to #2, 4 & 5! I think it’s so important to have this kind of self-awareness.
    My husband (a therapist) is pretty convinced I have GAD, but I do think my anxiety has made me into a more careful and empathetic person. It’s hard to explain!
    I over-intellectualize ALL the things and it can definitely be my downfall, but I think that same trait makes me more openminded in the end. And I have always worked best with a (self-imposed) deadline hanging over me!
    And happy birthday, Neil!
    Catherine @ foodiecology recently posted…World Health Day 2016 – Healthy Hacks for the 9-5 LifeMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:44 am

      I’ve written about that before too, how being depressed or anxious actually helps me relate better to people. It’s not all bad!

  6. April 7, 2016 / 9:24 am

    I tell myself that procrastination is just me testing myself under pressure haha.
    Carmy recently posted…Stop the FOMOMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:44 am

      Haha I love it.

  7. April 7, 2016 / 9:33 am

    Wow, I struggle with so many of those. For the people pleasing, I have to remember that I want to please God rather than man, and if I do that, I often end up pleasing people. Even if I don’t it’s okay. I definitely overthink stuff too.
    Emily recently posted…Is Your Body Worthy of Worship?My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:45 am

      Seems like you’re doing a pretty good job and have a great outlook to me!

  8. April 7, 2016 / 9:33 am

    I LOVE this post. Ah, it makes my heart so happy!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:45 am

      Aw thanks Jeanette!

  9. April 7, 2016 / 10:02 am

    I overthink everything, I analyze myself too much, I’m anxious, and I like to be alone a fair amount of the time. I’m super fun 😉 I use my knowledge of these things to solve problems as objectively as possible, help and understand others better, and create the best environment for myself as I can. I also make a point of telling other people that I do these things/am sometimes this way, so we all know where we’re coming from. 🙂
    Happy birthday to Neil!
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #49My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 11:46 am

      Haha I can totally relate to that Ellen!

  10. April 7, 2016 / 10:15 am

    I can definitely be a people pleaser – I don’t like to feel like I’m letting people down! I think having kids helped me break that a little – I obviously can’t help everyone with everything and still take care of my own 2 kiddos!
    Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted…4 Tips When Losing Patience as a MomMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      Yeah, more responsibilities mean that you can’t always try to fulfill everyone else’s.

  11. April 7, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    Great post and great reminder to just “use what you have.” There are some parts of us we can’t change, so we might as well see what good can come from them. I’ve had the exact same lesson about my procrastination. I would always see it as a flaw, but now I’ve accepted that obviously this is how I work best and I still always get everything I need to done. And usually well. So this may just be how I roll
    Happy birthday Neil!
    Cora recently posted…The World of a Super-Feeler: Parenting a Child Through Difficult EmotionsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:04 pm

      Yeah, once I was like “hmm what if I just accept this?” then things were a lot easier. As long as it gets done I’m happy!

  12. Lexie
    April 7, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    Happiest of Birthdays to your wonderful hubby!!!!!!
    This is brilliantly written. I can relate! I was a people pleasing caretaker for my family for years. I finally put the brakes on with others and now I look out for number one. But not before they drained my finances and my soul. I am slowly learning these same lessons. It’s not easy but you have described it perfectly!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:05 pm

      Sometimes you have to learn things by going through them. I can definitely relate to that. So many lessons have just been through experience.

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:05 pm

      Oh man I procrastinate all over the place.

  13. Hillary
    April 7, 2016 / 1:40 pm

    Happy birthday Neil! I love that you are featured on the blog so much and that you’re okay with Erin sharing so much about your life together. It really does help connect as a reader and honestly, seeing that even the most “perfect” couples go through their own challenges, it’s sort of refreshing. That said, I am so glad that you two seem to be better than ever!!!

    Have a fantastic day!!!!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:06 pm

      Aw thanks Hillary! I’m passing this along to him 🙂

  14. April 7, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    I so know what you mean about finally being able to breathe again so long with anxiety. That’s the best way I’ve found to describe it, but I don’t feel like it necessarily does it justice.

    I’m also a procrastinator. I get stuff done, but I will always leave things to the last minute, and I’ve learned that’s okay, so long as I don’t drop the ball.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Nutrition Requirements for Runners: ProteinMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:06 pm

      Yeah, as long as I get whatever needs to be done done, then I’m ok w how I do it n

  15. April 7, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    I am a really anxious person too and I have found it makes me more sensitive and compassionate to other’s needs. I think because of it I can connect with people on a different level.
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…WIAW: Saturday DelightsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:07 pm

      I totally agree. That was one of the positives I wrote about depression is that I am more empathetic and can relate to others better.

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:07 pm

      I’m so bad about meditation. I need to work on that for sure!

  16. April 7, 2016 / 11:20 pm

    I love this so much. I think everyone should do this exercise–our flaws are an important part of who we are. One of my flaws is that I am not outgoing or bubbly, and people always expect me to be since I am a fitness instructor. But I am calm and easygoing, and I am proof that you don’t have to be super outgoing to be an instructor :). Thanks for sharing!
    Emma @Em-powered Wellness recently posted…7 Tips to Lower Your Diabetes RiskMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 12:08 pm

      I totally agree. I can motivate others in my classes, but I’m still a little reserved sometimes in one on one interactions.

  17. April 8, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    I personally have every single one of these “flaws” that you listed. I really liked this post! It’s all about taking what you have and using it for a better purpose.
    Sarah recently posted…Fashion FavoritesMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 8, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      Thanks Sarah! Yup, it’s all about perspective!

  18. April 12, 2016 / 6:26 am

    I used to take everything personally and mull over what I assumed people were thinking about me. I hate that I used to do that (don’t get me wrong, I still do sometimes!), but I think it has helped me become a stronger woman.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Roasted Hazelnut Chocolate Peanut ButterMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 12, 2016 / 7:21 pm

      It got to a point for me where I was like “why do I care so much??” The more I grew to love myself the easier it was to not worry about everyone else. There’s always times when it comes up again though. Booooo.

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