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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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!