As I checked the daily blog prompt this morning I thought the question it posed was odd, at least from a counselor’s perspective. The suggested topic was titled “Flawed” and the accompanying prompt suggested writing on the question “What is your worst quality?” My initial response was to think “that’s an awful question!” As a counselor, I don’t think it has ever crossed my mind to ask that question. Asking someone to focus on their worst quality and flaws, in my mind, is equivalent to asking the similarly awful question “what’s wrong with you?”
I think both questions can lead to a feeling of shame. When we believe there is something inherently “wrong” with us or we dwell on that nagging, less than ideal quality, we increase our feelings of anxiety and insecurity and lower our self-esteem. Once shame enters the scene it can begin interfering with our daily lives. We become less likely to interact with others, we begin using negative self-talk more often, and we become full of doubt or even self-hatred. Shame eventually tries to convince us that others must feel the same way about us that we feel about ourselves and we come to feel as though we’re toxic.
I would suggest that we all have imperfections, flaws, and qualities we think about changing or sometimes wish were different. Sometimes we can change them, sometimes we can’t. In instances where we can’t change our least favorite qualities, or when the change is going to take time, it can help to find ways to accept ourselves as we are, in this moment, with all our shortcomings and strengths.
Doing a simple mindfulness exercise, for example, might help:
“Breathing in I recognize this flaw, breathing out I accept myself where I am right now.”
Using affirmations and monitoring your self-talk are additional ways you can manage thoughts and feelings related to flaws and imperfections.
Instead of asking yourself what your worst quality is and emphasizing your flaws, I would encourage you to ask “how can you accept who you are even with that quality or flaw?” What’s your favorite way to deal with the thoughts and feelings associated with your flaws? How are you able to accept your worst qualities when they come to your attention?
~Inspired by a prompt from: Flawed~