I'm full of flaws. Actually, I'm brimming with imperfections: I'm a terrible liar, a hopeless romantic, and an awful singer (to my mother's dismay, who was the Brittany Spears of Europe in her youth). Such dire dilemmas should keep me up at night, I know.
And they used to, in fact. The young me was consumed with what everyone thought of her and obsessed with reaching perfection. I was so preoccupied with appearing perfect to everyone else that I became blind to what was already excellent within me. I ignored my inner gold while searching for silver in foreign places.
With time and spiritual elevation, I gave up on putting on an ideal show for the world and simply decided to become great for myself. I'm not the only one who has felt inadequate under the unrealistic obligations of society -- we've all tried to mold ourselves according to external pressures. But have you ever thought that your flaws are exactly what make you uniquely perfect? That perhaps that dreaded wrinkle and your tendency to overreact are precisely what complement the totality of your being?
The result of this way of thinking would create realistic expectations and a much-needed sense of tolerance of ourselves and others. Embrace and act on these seven "flaws" as your secret, treasured strengths:
1. Honesty. It seems that an honest person is a rare commodity in today's world. Lies are enforced more than the truth simply because they "sell" better. But those of us who would still rather tell it like it is should take pride in our unadulterated sincerity. Honesty reinforces our tremendous value as members of our community and offers us hope for collective progress.
2. Romanticism. Sleepless are the nights of hopeless romantics, we who view the world through the lens of love above all. But our romanticism means that we continue to believe in love even when it is frail, lacking, or false. To us, love is the undying trait and highest ability of humankind. We recognize that this emotion can mend all that is broken, if only we allow it. Love others, even if they've betrayed you. Love your partner, even if he or she has harmed you. Love yourself, even if you've disappointed yourself. Give love the chance to right all wrongs.
3. Sacrifice. As I've said before, there lies beauty in sacrifice. Doing for another instead of doing for yourself stirs up an indescribable feeling. Best of all, sacrifice is contagious. When you sacrifice for another person you are teaching by example. Perpetuate the cycle of doing good for yourself and for others. Allow the altruistic grace of sacrifice to resurface in a selfish world.
4. Sensitivity. As the saying goes, "It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply." As one who feels beyond normal bounds, I can tell you that both aspects of this quote are true. Sensitivity isn't crying during the final scenes of a sad movie. It implies a heightened awareness to the world around you. You're "sensitive" if you literally feel the struggle of another person or you know just what to bring a loved one when they've had a bad day. To be sensitive is to be intensely aware of details and desires and helps us discover the grandeur of even the most minute things.
5. Consciousness. Living consciously means being alive in every sense of the word; it is acknowledging your divine nature and mission on Earth -- seeing yourself not as an individual person with self-imposed limitations but as a powerful vessel for good that's part of a greater whole. It is noticing not the rainbow of colors in springtime, but its divine inspiration. When we are conscious, or spiritually awake, is when we finally begin to understand the reasons of things.
6. Vulnerability. To keep from getting hurt, we are taught to be strong-willed and guarded at all times. In part, this is a natural defense mechanism against pain. But it makes us more machine than human. Recognize the times when it's okay to be susceptible -- to feel, experience, engage, empathize, and risk. You'll get hurt on occasion, yes, but you will also develop virtues that are inaccessible to the closed heart: wisdom, integrity, compassion, patience, and acceptance. Walk the fine line between shielding yourself and revealing yourself in order to experience all the wonders of life.
7. Simplicity. In a world that covets the complex, gorgeous, and expensive, it's hard to stand out as a "simple" person. But simplicity fosters authenticity, and no amount of elaboration can match the force of a genuine spirit. Be simple in your intentions. It's a lot of fun to live a fast-paced, flamboyant life, but remember to slow things once in a while. Living simply reminds us of our true reasons and roots us in purpose.
We're all laden with what others label as flaws, but what are in reality our secret strengths. When we understand this, we can begin to act on these imperfect parts of ourselves to produce perfectly positive results. Accept your personal faults today and discover the world of good they can deliver tomorrow.
To your secret strengths,