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As none of us is perfect, it’s useful to decide what flaws we want to fix and which ones we can (sigh!) live with. This works better than feeling ongoing pressure to repair what’s wrong and continuing to fail at it. There’s no formula for which behaviors or attitudes you can live with and which you can’t. The goal to aim for is peace of mind.
First off, how would you feel about accepting a few of your shortcomings although you’d rather be different? For example, I would like to be a more patient driver, but in my almost 75 years, to be honest, I haven’t made much progress in mellowing out behind the wheel. I know the behavior hurts no one but myself, but I don’t seem to be able to chill out as much as I’d like to. I’m not a horn honker or anything like that; I just more or less feel a low-level annoyance and sit there stewing. So, here’s the question: Must I keep trying to change after five decades at failing and or is it acceptable to say, “Okay, that’s just me,” which is more or less what I’ve chosen to do?
Alternatively, I come from a family of interrupters and people who talk over each other, and I don’t like when I don’t let others, especially clients, finish their thoughts. This behavior is unacceptable to me because it may harm others and is something I’ll continue to put effort into changing until my dying breath. Can you see the difference between the two behaviors?
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that it’s fine to accept well chosen flaws if they don’t harm others and you’ve tried your darndest to change them. So, what if, like me, you’re not a fabulous cook or need help figuring out the dinner check. So, what if you’ve been skiing your whole life and still prefer the easier trails. So, you’re introverted or can’t stand messes. Maybe you don’t need to view traits you don’t excel at or don’t care for as flaws, but as qualities that make you you. You do some things well and not others.
Moreover, as I think about what clients often want to change, their desire doesn’t always appear to spring from themselves. Many want to conform to society and would lose their valuable uniqueness if they erased their “flaws.” Others are still trying to please their parents rather than be happy with the way they are.
Consider what you really want to change about yourself and why. Who are you changing for: yourself or others? Do you feel a strong desire to change versus thinking you ought to? What traits could you give up on changing and how would you benefit from simply accepting them?
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