How to Control Flaws That May Control You
Some of your flaws are embedded in your temperament. If you ignore them, you shortchange your knowledge of who you are. The best way to deal with your flaws is to recognize and control them—before they control you.
Flaws become controlling when you hide them, when you excuse them, or rename them. Here are two examples:
- A defiant teenager responds to his parents’ instruction with rude remarks. To them, he is assertive. He grows into an "assertive" adult who constantly gets fired from his job.
- A flirtatious woman describes her actions as friendly. After a while, she suffers harassment to the point of frustration. She hates the frustration, but never sees it as a result of her indiscretion.
In these instances, rudeness in the young man and indiscretion in the woman are controlling their lives. Chances are, their situations will not change unless they recognize their flaws.
Where Do Flaws Come From?
Everybody has some. To help identify them and control them, first look at where they come from. Here we identify flaws from five sources, and offer suggestions on controlling them.
- Flaws You Inherit in Your DNA
- Flaws You Learn Through Association
- Flaws You Adopt Through Ignorance
- Flaws You Create By Your Limitations
- Flaws Which Result From Life’s Wear and Tear
1. Flaws You Inherit in Your DNA
You can readily tell the physical flaws you inherited from your parent’s genes. One or both of your parents have the defects you have: a sixth finger, a freckled face, extra-large ears and so on. If you let these imperfections define you, they can control you. You will spend all your time explaining them, or all your earnings fixing them.
You also inherited character flaws: the tendency to lie, to over-spend, to lose your temper—flaws your parents have or had. There are many evidences1 of children who exhibit the same traits as their parents. Have you seen any of your parents’ flaws in you?
Your temperament (who you really are) holds your natural tendencies2 or predispositions. Your parents, teachers and preachers educate you into controlling those tendencies so that you do not demonstrate them in your character (who you choose to be). For example: control laziness by learning the value of work.
Suggestion: You still have the flaws, but you control them by practicing self-control. You need help from a Higher Power (God) to master self-control.
2. Flaws You Learn Through Association
You learn some flaws from the people with whom you associate. If you hang out with people who gossip, steal, or make fun of other people, you may lose sensitivity to guilt feelings over those misdeeds. After a while, as a show of loyalty to your circle of friends, you join in their acts and improve the drill as time goes by.
Peer connections are powerful in the lives of youth and adult alike. In whichever age group you are, you can learn good habits and you can learn flaws.
Suggestion: To avoid being controlled by your peers and their flaws, you can try talking them out of wrongdoing; if you cannot lead them, learn to lead yourself away from them.
3. Flaws You Adopt Through Ignorance
Perhaps while growing up, you watched the interaction between people of different races, and it became obvious to you that one race was superior to others. Perhaps you watched a value system that positioned natives above foreigners, males above females, or landlords above tenants.
Consequently, you develop flaws like prejudice and snobbery if you belong to the superior group; or defensiveness and low self-esteem if you consider yourself in another group. Flaws like pre-judging and stereotyping also surface in similar situations, where faulty assumptions are not exposed.
Suggestion: Flaws that are adopted through ignorance can be destroyed by learning. Learn to practice kindness in your dealings with other people, treat them with the same respect you want for yourself, and include some humility just in case there is something you still do not know.
4. Flaws You Create By Your Limitations
Sometimes you do not have what it takes—time, money, connections or other elements—to accomplish the goal you set. You may start with noble intentions, but when failure stares at you, you become creative in ignoble ways.
For example, you set your sights on a person to make him or her your spouse. You know the person would not marry you unless you have a certain type of job (for which you do not have the qualifications).
- You create a false résumé;
- You create a scenario in which you are awaiting a call from the interviewer;
- You continue to create until the person accepts you;
- You keep on creating to the point of seeing truth in your lies;
- Eventually, you create a pathologic liar who lies to everyone about everything to make your story authentic.
Character flaws are constantly created by financiers and politicians who make promises they cannot keep.
Suggestion: The way to get out from under the control of these hypocrises is to give up. Stop the game of pretending to be someone you are not and regain the freedom to enjoy who you are.
5. Flaws Resulting From Life’s Wear and Tear
If you live long enough, you will develop some physical flaws. Beauty fades, replacing smooth skin with wrinkles and even skin tones with blemishes. Health deteriorates and aches in the joints may cause limps.
Don’t lose your perspective on purpose and become depressed over the flaws that come with aging. Embrace them and celebrate the memories of the lifelong events that caused the wear and tear.
Suggestion: Character flaws will continue to control you in your senior years, unless you have exhibited your strengths above them. If they still have control, you are likely to add more flaws by becoming disagreeable. You deserve to be remembered for the contributions you made to other people’s lives, not for outstanding flaws. Let your life of service promote your virtues.
In the end, your aim is not to present yourself as flawless, but to enable you to share how you controlled your flaws so that you moved forward in spite of them. If you do a good job of controlling them, you can become a mentor to others who have similar flaws.
What is your attitude toward personal flaws?
- 10 Celebrities with Strange Physical Flaws - Listverse
Sure, they may look perfect on the silver screen, but all ten of these celebrities have a physical imperfection caused by a birth defect, accident, or just plain old heredity.
© 2014 Dora Weithers