Many people think that being “strong” means hiding any weaknesses or anything that could be perceived as weakness from the world. Often, these perfectionists try to hide their weakness from themselves as well. However, this is counterproductive. In actuality, the strongest people are those who acknowledge their weaknesses and use that knowledge to help themselves and others.
Knowing Your Weaknesses Helps You Be Responsible
Whenever you acknowledge something that you’re not particularly proud of, you empower yourself to be more responsible. It’s impossible to deal with your weaknesses if you refuse to acknowledge that they are there.
Furthermore, when you deny that an emotion, habit or problem exists, it tends to come up at inconvenient times, causing you to feel powerless and out of control. Conversely, if you acknowledge that a weakness exists, you can avoid putting yourself in situations where you act out that weakness. You also will have more control over your own behavior in all situations.
For example, suppose you have a tendency to drink too much at holiday time. If you are ashamed of this perceived weakness and try to pretend it doesn’t exist, you’ll find yourself going to holiday parties where there’s a lot of alcohol available and end up drinking too much. This will cause more shame and embarrassment, which can cause you to try harder to ignore your weakness.
Instead, if you acknowledge to yourself that this is a weakness of yours, you can decide whether or not to attend parties that involve alcohol and come up with strategies for avoiding the alcohol if you do decide to go.
You Can Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths
Once you acknowledge your weaknesses, you can also turn them into strengths. This is especially helpful if you have qualities that you perceive to be weaknesses on the job. For example, some people’s organizational skills are weak. If you acknowledge to yourself that you are not very organized, you can then see the flip side of that: you are probably spontaneous and flexible and able to change your schedule around to accommodate what needs to be done at work. While focusing on these strengths, of course, it’s important to also work on your weakness so that it doesn’t become a liability. You’ll want to create an organizational system for yourself that you can live with so you can find papers as needed and get work done in a timely manner while continuing to be flexible.
Acknowledging Weaknesses Enhances Your Self-Esteem
Whenever you refuse to accept some quality about yourself, it hurts your self-esteem. After all, your weaknesses are part of who you are. If you don’t want to acknowledge that you have them, it’s like sending yourself the message that you aren’t good enough the way you are.
One of the simplest ways to increase your self-esteem is to calmly acknowledge your weaknesses. For example, if you’re always late, instead of beating yourself up when you’re late again to a party, take a deep breath, smile and say to yourself, “There I go not leaving myself enough time again!” With practice you’ll be able to acknowledge these weaknesses in yourself to other people as well. That will really help boost your self-confidence.
For all these reasons, it’s important to acknowledge weaknesses rather than denying their existence. Since nobody is perfect, there’s no reason to expect yourself to be. If you really don’t like a particular weakness, you can always work on changing it–but first you need to accept the way it is right now.
Kelly Anderson is an Assisted Living Today blogger who is helping families and elders find the best living environment for their retirement.