How to Transform Your Flaws and Create Lasting Change
Positive change happens when we become willing to look at ourselves honestly including our mistakes. My favorite saying is that mistakes are only lessons because no one is perfect and striving to be is exhausting!
Taking an inventory includes writing down what you've done well and what areas you can improve. This blog shows you exactly how to do just that.
When Assets Become Liabilities
This exercise helps you identify strengths and weak areas. Every trait can be an asset or a liability. The difference is determined by the degree it's expressed.
Susan is always helpful. She's the first one to volunteer at her children's school and church events.
When she gives too much she neglects her own responsibilities and doesn't have time for herself.
Brian works 70-80 hours a week and his work means everything to him.
Because Brian works too much, he has trouble relaxing and has no personal life.
These examples show how assets become liabilities. Each strength turned into a liability when taken too far. The goal is moderation. You don’t need to stop the behavior completely.
How to Transform Faults into Assets
The key to transforming faults is finding the gift in them. So if you have trouble being assertive - the strength may be that you're flexible and easy-going. Someone who gives too much, has a generous heart. Get it?
When doing this, be gentle with yourself. This is not an exercise in beating yourself up. Everyone has weaknesses but learning from the past helps you make healthier choices.
Identify What's Good and Where You Need Help
I suggest doing this exercise in a notebook instead of electronically. Research shows that handwriting engages your brain differently than on a device. There is something about the physical act of writing that feels cathartic. If you've never tried journal writing, it's a powerful way to gain clarity.
Here are the steps for assessing yourself:
1. Write down a list of your strengths and weaknesses.
List all the characteristics you have that are assets and areas of growth. If this is challenging for you, ask a trusted friend for feedback. It's really helpful to know what your strengths and weaknesses are because that is what makes you YOU!
2. Identify each one as a strength or area of growth.
- Self-care including physical, emotional and spiritual needs
- Coping skills - managing anger and stress
- Physical and emotional health - getting regular check ups, emotional support
- Social life - spending quality time with family, maintaining friendships, not being too dependent on one person
- Career - job satisfaction, professional and financial goals
- Spiritual - having a faith or belonging to a community that comforts you?
3. Pick ONE thing you're motivated to change right now!
Don't tackle all of them at once. If you’re not a goal-oriented person, commit to making one small change. Believe me, that’s a great start! Growth occurs when you learn to live in the grey. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Acknowledge Yourself - One Accomplishment and One Goal
Part of growth is acknowledging progress. Name one thing that you’re proud of accomplishing this year. Take time to acknowledge the work you've done. I cannot emphasis this enough. Glossing over your accomplishments short changes them.
I've heard many clients downplay their successes but then wonder why they struggle with self-esteem. You need to acknowledge your accomplishments before trying to get others to see them. Giving it to yourself empowers you more than waiting for others to notice.
Name one area you’d like to improve. I do this every year by focusing on a word or phrase as my goal. Here are some personal examples I've done myself:
- Telling my truth
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Being more authentic
- Handling conflict
- Letting go of perfectionism
How to Stay Focused on the Goal
Pick something that you really care about - not what you think you should do. Goals are no fun if you don't have the motivation to complete them. It has to mean something to you.
The amazing thing is the once you set your intention, the universe provides opportunities to learn it. This means that you'll be tested. For instance, the year I choose handling conflict I was presented with conflicts as opportunities to grow. I learned a ton about myself and gained confidence by the end of that year.
I learned how to prepare ahead of time (and go in with a plan) which skyrocketed my communication. The universe gave me what I asked for but it wasn't easy. I had to be willing to feel the fear and do it anyway. For more help with conflict read Avoid Relationship Meltdown: Your Blueprint for Conflict Resolution.
Make Effective Repairs
Sometimes in order to move forward, you need to clean up what's unfinished. Ignoring old hurts and resentments leaves a mark. Those feelings leak out in resentment and create distant relationships.
Go over the last year. Is there anything that you need to go back and repair? A repair could be an apology but really it’s an acknowledgment of your behavior. Admitting your part can release the tension and restore trust. Click here if you'd like more information about making repairs.
4. Learn to Let Go
Is there an old resentment or expectation that you need to let go of? Letting go doesn't happen without a fight. Surrender only happens after you've exhausted every possibility.
Letting go means that you stop expecting a different outcome. You can accept what happened despite the pain. In fact, the pain is what ultimately strengthens you.
Wouldn’t it be great to walk into the new year (or new month) without carrying that pain around?
Moving Forward Takes Time
Moving forward often requires dealing with the past. The inventory helps you take stock of where you've been and where you want to go. It can also highlight unresolved pain and grief.
In 12 step programs this exercise is called the 4th Step. It takes time to complete. Sharing this with a trusted friend, counselor or sponsor (if you're in 12 step programs) is recommended. Pain witnessed leads to pain healed.
Get support if friends and family aren't enough. Al-Anon provides amazing support for anyone struggling in relationships.
Set your intention and the lessons will come. Repair the past and relationships will heal. Let go of old hurts and create new energy for the future.
So what's that one thing you want to change? What do you need in order to get there? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.
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- A Confidence Guide
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