If you're anything like me you've probably spent more time than you'd like to admit trying to "fix" your various "flaws." Although I may pretend otherwise, many of my own goals, desires, and even my motivation to "grow" has often come from a deep place of insecurity within me - thinking that if I could just fix what was wrong with me, then everything would be okay. I've been very aware of this dynamic as I've been in the process of creating my intentions for the New Year.
I recently had an insight, (one which I've had before but this time it came to me at a deeper level), that maybe instead of focusing on "fixing" my "flaws," it's more important to love them instead. I've resisted this notion of loving my flaws for most of my life, worrying that if I actually loved the things I thought were wrong with me, they'd somehow never change and I'd be stuck with them.
Ironically, it's only love that leads to real healing and transformation - which ultimately can create the actual change we say we're looking for, or a true sense of acceptance that gives us access to authentic freedom and liberation, regardless of circumstances.
At a deep level, all of our "flaws" are subjective and based on our own interpretations, perspectives, and focuses. We obsess about certain aspects of our body or appearance, our personality, our life or work circumstances and deem them as "bad" or "flawed." But, the truth is they simply are as they are - we add the meaning and interpretation to them.
Regardless of how philosophical we get about it, however, most of us as human beings experience a sense of feeling flawed in certain aspects of our lives and at particular times in life. There is nothing wrong with us for feeling this way. Although, as we each know from experience - feeling flawed can rob us of our energy, our passion, our happiness, our confidence, and our life. It's one of the most painful ways we allow our ego to run our lives and it can have devastating consequences if we're not conscious about it.
Here are some ideas about what we can to move through our experience of feeling "flawed," to a place of acceptance, peace, and love:
1) Acknowledge what's true for you. The first step in almost every process of growth and transformation is about telling the truth. So often we try to avoid, run from, or pretend our "flaws" away. But, if we relate to some aspect of our bodies, personalities, relationships, careers, or lives in general as a flaw, we first have to get real about it if we're going to do anything about it.
2) Admit and express the underlying emotions. If we can identify, acknowledge, and ultimately express the true emotions we're experiencing related to this perceived flaw, we can create a real sense of liberation for ourselves. If a certain aspect of your personality, your body, or your career bothers you and because of it you find yourself feeling ashamed - as uncomfortable or potentially "negative" as it may seem, the best thing you can do is to acknowledge and express your shame.
Emotions become positive when they are appropriately expressed and turn negative when they are denied and repressed. Although this is a different understanding of emotions than we've been taught, we've all had many liberating and positive experiences when we've expressed "negative" emotions (like sadness, anger, fear, and more). By expressing our real emotions, we can start to unlock and unhook ourselves from the drama and suffering of the situation, which is actually caused by our denial and repression of these emotions, not the emotions themselves.
3) Forgive yourself. This is a big one and something that many of us, myself included, don't have a lot of experience with. Most of us have been trained to be hard on ourselves and also that forgiveness has to come from someone or something outside of us. However, true forgiveness comes from within us and is what ultimately sets us free in life. When we feel "flawed" in certain areas of our life, we often have a lot of blame and judgment - some of which may be directed towards other people or situations, but beneath that, most of it is directed at us. When we're able to forgive ourselves in an authentic way, we create the space for real change and healing to take place.
4) Appreciate. The word appreciate doesn't mean "like," "agree with," or "enjoy," necessarily. Appreciate means to "recognize the value of something." What have you learned about yourself and life by dealing with this "flaw?" While pain, issues, and challenges are not the only ways to grow in life, one of the many benefits of our challenges is that we get to learn a great deal about ourselves, others, and life in the process of dealing with them. When we move into a state of genuine appreciation and gratitude for the learning associated with the difficulty, we can move out of feeling sorry for ourselves (which never helps). It's impossible to experience gratitude and victimhood simultaneously.
5) Love. The ultimate antidote for all suffering is love. Our ability to bring love to our flaws, to care for them with kindness and compassion (as we would for a child, a pet, or a loved one) is what will ultimately heal us and allow the true transformation we're looking for to take place. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. When we love our flaws we create an environment where we're either able to make the kinds of specific changes we truly want (from an authentic place of intention) or learn to love and accept ourselves whether an actual "change" takes place or not. Any issue, malady, or problem that shows up in our lives is an opportunity for us to deepen our capacity to bring love, give love, receive love, and accept love.
All of these things, in my own experience, are much easier said than done. And, when we're able to tell the truth, express our real emotions, forgive ourselves, appreciate our flaws, and bring love to all aspects of our lives (both light and dark), we give ourselves the opportunity to transcend our flaws in a real way. This takes a great deal of intention, support, compassion, and patience. It is much easier to take a pill, avoid things, get busy and distracted, whine and complain, pretend things are "fine," and various other things we've learned to do in life. However, leaning into our "flaws" in an authentic way and doing so with profound love for ourselves, is how we can genuinely heal and end the cycle of suffering.
Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info - www.Mike-Robbins.com
Follow Mike Robbins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mikedrobbins