Are Your Flaws Really Your Strengths?

grandmother's report card
Image by victoriabernal via Flickr

I grew up thinking that I wasn’t quite as good as other people.  I was shy, not as smart as my older brother (who was, in his words, “brilliant!”), and I wanted nothing more than to be part of the in-crowd in High School.  Finally, after muddling through college, I found a place in the work world where my organizational skills and ability to learn quickly helped me find success.

My corporate career served me well in many ways – I was able to support myself and my daughter, buy a house, and enjoy a bit of the American Dream.  But I never felt really connected to my work.  Sure I had triumphs, times of growth and recognition, but many of my personal qualities – my sensitivity, imagination and soft-heartedness were, for the most part, liabilities in that environment.

But once I’d moved on to the post-corporate world I found that the traits that had made my life difficult in the business arena became assets in my new role as a life coach.   Actually, they were more than assets, they were necessary for success.

The lesson here, I think, is that those parts of us that we wish we could change, those  “flaws” that show up on our report cards or reviews, are really only our flaws as defined by our current environment.  On the flip side of those “flaws” we often find our greatest strengths.  I struggle with public speaking but love writing.  I have a friend who is considered brash by some, but to those she protects she’s a hero.  I have another friend who believes in the goodness of everyone and would probably be chewed up in a big company, but she’s a leader and a glowing success at the school where she teaches Special Education.

When we wish we were different, we hold back what we have to offer the world, and when we do that we end up a pale imitation of the person we were meant to be.  Every personal quality we have, every quirk, is a gift.  And those quirks, those differences, they’re what make us unique, and in our uniqueness is our beauty.

2 thoughts on “Are Your Flaws Really Your Strengths?

  1. That is such a positive way to look at that. Thank you for writing this!

    As an INFJ my head was in the clouds almost at all times. I had hard time paying attention to details and this upset me, because people would get mad at me.

    This totally applies to when I worked at a restaurant. I love talking to people, yes draining, but for the life of me, I could not remember everything.

    But now I realize that Ni is my dominant function, which is actually a big strength. I am happy I found MBTI, because it has explained so much!

  2. I agree. What if we looked at flaws as a strength. No two persons are the same and if we could teach our youth to take they’re flaws and use them as a strength for good. I can’t seem to find much study on this matter. It’s all about how to fix your weakness, not grow it. I am a INTP and I have some flaws that most people don’t understand. But I have recently started teaching myself how these weaknesses are actually strengths. So i think this is something that need to be explored in more depth.

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