Should you love your flaws and accept them?
Or should you work hard on changing them?
First of all, what I mean by the word flaws is the following:
“What you don’t like about yourself. Your shortcomings and insecurities and issues. Whether it’s about your personality, your living conditions, or even your physical looks.”
Those flaws can be real or imaginary.
In either case, they will threaten your self-esteem unless you deal with them in a healthy way. So many people want to become better but they are paralyzed by the fact that there will always be flaws.
In my last article, I explained how self-awareness can’t happen unless you are open about your own flaws. However, this awareness of one’s flaws can destroy people and make them hate themselves.
That’s why I have written this article.
To start, we need to ask ourselves 3 questions about these flaws.
- Do you believe that they are changeable?
- Do you believe that they are your responsibility?
- Do you feel bad/unworthy/inferior/less-of-a-human because you have them?
The answer to these questions will reveal to you how you are feeling about your current flaws at the moment. And how you should feel about them in a way that doesn’t destroy you or make you become too arrogant.
Is There Hope?
Ask yourself this:
- Do you believe that your flaws are changeable and that you can actually improve and overcome them?
- Do you believe that your flaws are screwing up your life and there is nothing you can do about that?
You need to believe that there is something that you can do to fix the situation.
Helplessness and giving up on one’s self are worse than having any flaw or problem.
You can have the worst personal flaws ever. But if you believe that they are changeable and that you are still a work in progress, you are more than halfway through the solution.
To believe that your flaws are here to stay and that they are unchangeable is more than enough to shatter your self-esteem.
With a shattered self-esteem, your problems/flaws will get worse and you will feel worse about yourself.
For instance, let’s say that Greg is a socially awkward guy. He suffers from social anxiety and severe shyness. And he is aware of this.
He also lacks self-confidence and has a very low self-esteem. Most people don’t really respect or trust him that much. After all, people will give you the same amount of respect you give yourself.
One of Greg’s friends told him, in a polite way, that he is actually needy and an approval seeker.
Greg, of course, didn’t like that. He denied it with a hesitant voice and a nervous laugh. But, every fiber of him knew that his friend was right.
That night, he didn’t sleep. He couldn’t! He sat there thinking about what he had been told. That night, he realized that he had been needy and had lacked self-confidence for as long as he could remember.
Those were his flaws and shortcomings.
At this point, how he feels about these flaws (being needy and lacking self-confidence) is critical.
Greg has to believe that overcoming neediness and developing self-confidence is doable. He has to believe that he can change and improve.
Greg has to believe that he can grow and become a confident person. He has to believe that he can develop enough self-esteem and stop seeking external approval.
This is a fundamental belief. Without it, self-development, coaching, and mentoring are useless.
To believe that you are stuck with your flaws, or what you don’t like, is a surefire way to screw up your life. In fact, by doing that, you’re giving up on yourself and telling the world that you are nothing but a weak victim.
But what if your flaws are not changeable?
This is the only case where you must accept your flaws. When you are 100% sure that you can’t change them. Only then will true acceptance happen. But you have to be honest with yourself: is there nothing you can do or are you avoiding accepting the responsibility of your life?
That can be a very tricky question. And it leads us to the next point, which is…
Whose Responsibility Is It?
It’s not enough to believe that you can change your flaws and overcome them.
It’s also critical to believe that you are the one who has to change them and improve your life quality. That’s up to no one but you. It’s your personal obligation and responsibility.
That’s called accepting full responsibility for your own life. And it’s one of the most important lessons you can learn in your life.
Greg, in the previous example, has to acknowledge that he is responsible for turning himself into an attractive, confident person. No one is going to do that for him. He is responsible for overcoming shyness. He is responsible for destroying social anxiety. He is responsible for becoming charismatic and stop getting bullied.
Yes, he probably became the way he is now because his parents had treated him poorly. Maybe the environment in which he had grown up was full of bullies and mentally unstable people.
He never had someone to talk to and he never had a mentor or a role model.
But all that doesn’t matter.
His emotional and psychological baggage are his responsibility.
Mark Manson describes this in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck as the responsibility/fault fallacy.
It’s not Greg’s fault that he was bullied and mistreated as a child. But it’s his responsibility to make himself confident. It’s his responsibility to take charge of his own emotional well-being.
We might suffer injustice, but in the end, it’s our lives and thus our responsibility. Don’t use injustice to justify staying the same because in the end it’s your life and you are the one who will suffer. Nobody is coming to save you!
“The day you graduate from childhood to adulthood is the day you take full responsibility for your life” -Darren Hardy
But what if your flaws are not changeable? Are they still your responsibility?
Yes, you are still responsible for accepting them and learning how to live with them. You are responsible for your own happiness and emotional well-being.
How About Your Own Self-worth?
Ask yourself this:
- How your flaws are making you feel about your own self-worth?
- Are they making you feel unworthy, inferior, or bad?
- Do you try to hide them and deny their existence so that people don’t think you are bad, inferior, unworthy?
- Do you try to fix them so that people see you as a perfect person?
Look, having flaws is one thing. Stigmatizing yourself because you have flaws is another thing.
Having flaws is inevitable. We all have our own scars and wounds. It’s life.
Stigmatizing yourself because you have flaws is very dangerous. It will hurt you more than the actual flaws will.
You will believe, deep inside you, that you are inferior and inadequate because you have XYZ. You’ll try to hide them and even compensate for having them (Read: I Hate Myself: A Brief Guide on Self-hatred).
That’s unhealthy. Feelings of shame can force any person to give up on themselves.
You need to work on improving as much as you can. But at the same time, you must never feel ashamed or stigmatize yourself because of your flaws or shortcomings.
For instance, Greg should develop his social skills and boost his self-esteem.
But he should never believe that he is less worthy, inferior, or inadequate because he has to do that (or because he lacks self-confidence in the first place).
This is not the same as ‘accepting your flaws and living with them. It’s about not being hard and judgmental on yourself for that is going to destroy you
I remember one time when I chickened out of public speaking. I was so scared. I found a way to leave the place and escape.
I felt bad about myself and my self-confidence got shaken.
However, I didn’t let that make me feel inferior or bad or unworthy.
I just told myself something like, “I have a problem here and I need to solve it. I’m not as confident as I want to be. That’s my wound. It doesn’t make me less worthy or bad. It is life and we all suffer wounds after going through certain wars in our past. I’ll heal it. I’ll become more confident (remember? It’s changeable.). I want to feel more confident and I will work on that. It’s my responsibility.”
After thinking this way, my feelings of shame and inadequacy decreased. That’s important. You can’t improve yourself while looking down at yourself and stigmatizing it.
I wrote about this concept in many articles. Check these:
- Everyone Has Struggles, So Don’t Stigmatize Yourself
- I Hate Myself: A Brief Guide on Self-hatred
- What If You Are Not Good Enough?
- How to NOT Solve Your Emotional Problems
- Why You Should Never Give Up On Yourself
We are humans and we will always have flaws and wounds and even scars. Feeling sorry for yourself because you have them, or feeling that you are bad or inferior because you have them, will only crush you.
Believe that there is hope for you, accept responsibility for finding and acting upon this hope, and don’t feel sorry for yourself because you are broken –we are all broken somehow; we are all full of shit.