What if our biggest faults, fears, and shortcomings mark “X’s” on the treasure maps of our souls… and that unearthing what lies beneath reveals a spiritual buried treasure?
What if our most glaring flaws exist to show us our true potential and life’s purpose?
What if what we “hate about ourselves” and seems to interfere with our everyday lives actually bubbles to the surface of our thoughts in hopes of capturing our full attention — so that one day we are compelled to confront it?
In other words, perhaps there is great purpose to our individual personality flaws, our shortcomings, vices and personal weaknesses. Perhaps they don’t exist simply to give us “something to work on,” but indicate the exact locations of our potential for personal empowerment, life’s purpose and fulfillment.
But how could a glaring weakness somehow indicate or reveal a possible strength? For every “yin,” there is a “yang.” For every “up,” a “down.” Thus, for every weakness and shortcoming that characterizes our personalities, why couldn’t there be the inherent opposite become our biggest strengths and become our most cherished gifts to offer to others in our lives?
Not convinced yet? Let’s back up and start at the beginning.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST FLAWS?
I’ll use myself as an example. The following characteristics and personality traits are what I could describe (and often have thought of) as my biggest flaws and weaknesses, especially throughout my high school years and even after college:
1. “Caring to a Fault”
The “caring to a fault” personality trait tops the list because of its particular impact in aspects of my personal life, especially while growing up, and especially pertaining to love and relationships.
Caring to a fault was always my Achilles heal — the proverbial kryptonite that both overextended me and overburdened “her” on the other end of the relationship.
How could someone possible care too much? I often wondered. How could caring and being compassionate and wanting to provide for someone you loved actually be to the detriment of a relationship based in love?
“Patience is a virtue,” everybody used to tell me. “To hell with virtue,” I’d think in reply. Impatience characterized me, especially in youth.
I attribute impatience as a child and into high school as what doctors would describe as “social” or “separation anxiety,” sorts of severe homesickness that would compel me to sooner feign illness and escape a setting that I was uncomfortable in than remain in any unfamiliar place or among a group of strangers.
I used to be a perfectionist. I would stress over minor details of everything about myself, from the work I put forth in grade-school to minor nuances of my dress and physical appearance — largely originating from having terrible skin throughout my early teenage years.
Subjects in grade-school that I couldn’t understand or master — mostly science and mathematics — I ultimately neglected and avoided altogether, sort of in a “If I can’t understand it, I won’t try at all,” kind of way.
As with the common downfalls of being a perfectionist — never really winning, since no one and nothing is perfect in this life — I was wracked by personal insecurities.
Self-doubt consumed my focus and thus clouded my vision about this world and others around me. I neglected to see beyond the insecurities and imperfections of my own self. Lacking specific direction in grade-school, high school, and creeping into college, I was stuck in a stagnant mental-emotional state of constant wonder and self-doubt, which in turn evolved into hyper-criticism.
THE X’S ON MY MAP
It wasn’t until I was completely forced to confront my weaknesses and shortcomings that I gradually came to discover so much about my true Self, realizing that what I considered to be my curses were actually indicating marks — X’s on my map — that revealed amazing personal strengths that always resided within me, if I dug deep enough to unearth them.
1. Caring, Compassionate, Passion-Driven
I felt victimized by my “caring to a fault” personality characteristic many times over before questioning if it was such a bad thing after all, and not a possible source of unremitting strength. Now, I understand that I am a passion-driven person who can utilize his “caring too much” like a tool — a constant and unremitting source of determination and strength.
It seems natural that I would become a writer of compassion-driven subjects like self-improvement and personal development that look to reach into the soul of the reader and help the best person emerge.
I have channeled my weakness of “caring too much” into a strength of “caring so much” that I now, and without limitation, have the strength and determination to reach out to, and connect with, and truly help as many people as I possibly can meet in my life.
2. Patience, Determination
I embodied impatience in severe ways as a child that overtook my consciousness and forced me to feel like I needed to escape, and with the utmost urgency. The problem was never so much as where I was at the time, or who I was with, but the incredible determination to escape a moment in which I felt uncomfortable. I had no patience to be where I didn’t want to be and among those whom I was uncomfortable.
It wasn’t until years later that I was compelled to face my own impatience until I began to realize that impatience could be overcome, and nurturing a strength through patience was a most great asset.
Nowadays, I practice and reflect upon patience upwards of 10 times a day, reminding myself that patience overcomes fleeting feelings of insecurity and self-doubt, anger, and the urge to turn and run instead of standing up for what is right. Patience is a virtue, and a true gift when properly understood and harnessed.
3. Focused Idealist; Practical Visionary
Being an idealist used to be a problem: my natural tendency toward perfectionism caused me to lose and feel like I could never achieve what I wanted to. Slowly but surely, my lofty standards gradually evolved from “can’t-win” perfectionism to practical idealism and focus as a writer and visionary.
My writing embodies this personal strength: I strive to boil down lofty, sometimes unrealistic ideals about life, love, relationships and living better in very practical sorts of ways — perhaps best exemplified in my video blog RenegadeTV‘s mission to offer viewers and readers “day-to-day” ways to embody the ideals that comprise my school of thought called “Renegadeism.”
Your Goal: Be Introspective, Not Hyper-Critical
It’s easy to be self-critical, to psychoanalyze ourselves incessantly for hours on end and to pick apart our flaws and personal shortcomings.
These shortcomings stick out to us in the forefront of our minds because we notice how they impact our everyday lives, our jobs, our relationships with others, and our personal happiness.
I used to perceive personal flaws and weaknesses like they were maladies: diseases of the soul that we had to combat as cancer is attacked with chemotherapy. I thought that we each needed to confront our shortcomings and weaknesses, but could probably never fully overcome them.
Why should such personality flaws even exist?
I reasoned, they exist if only to “give us something to work on” — like spiritual chores or errands that we were obligated to perform to improve ourselves — and help us realize that we are each naturally imperfect as human beings.
As life compelled me to confront the most glaring weaknesses of my personality, I began to realize something wonderful: that each detrimental aspect of who I was as a person simply marked the very places where a unique buried treasure was hidden within: the X’s on a spiritual map of my soul.
I’m not unique in this regard — the case is no different for you or anyone else.
A world of wealth resides within us: it’s simply a matter choosing to seek that “gold” out, to explore and understanding our weaknesses and shortcomings, and fully unearth the X’s on the map of our souls.