Owning your shortcomings does not mean you are not on a path of continued self-betterment. In reality, the ability to accept and acknowledge your flaws is a step even further in the right direction. In order to make positive, personal changes, we must be aware of the fact that there is something to change. If we live in a state of self-centered ignorance – believing that we are unflawed and absolute – then we will never strive to improve. Acknowledging our flaws also helps us to set personal goals. For example, we cannot strive to become more patient and even-tempered if we are not aware of our edginess. We cannot attempt to become more tolerant and open-minded unless we acknowledge that we are a bit rigid and set in our ways. People often say that we are our own worst critics. While this can be true, it also seems that we are extraordinarily adept at overlooking our own flaws.
Hard to Face the Truth
When we hastily attempt to assess ourselves, we are bound to overlook areas that – when honestly evaluated – might make us feel a bit uncomfortable. If we know in the back of our minds that we have a slight shopping problem, we will avoid checking our account balances. If we suspect that we may be ignoring some important tasks, we will convince ourselves that everyone procrastinates, and that it will all get done eventually. When we avoid taking an honest and thorough look at reality, we disallow ourselves from making personal progress. And of course, our issues will not simply evaporate if we avoid staring them in the eye for long enough. They will continue to grow and grow and escalate and escalate, until they are too overwhelming to ignore. And even then – many of us will turn to other means of avoidance. We may try to blur out reality with a generous glass of wine, or a three-day Netflix binge session.
Acknowledge and Accept
The first step to change is acknowledging your flaws. Take a moment to do so – and try not to be too hard on yourself. Of course, avoid going easy on yourself, too. Just be honest. Maybe you continuously vow to keep up with yoga – not because you are overweight; not even because your chakras are clogged. Simply because you notice a difference in yourself when you do attend several classes per week. Maybe you keep putting it off and putting it off, feeding yourself excuses every time you begin to feel partially motivated. Once you have acknowledged your flaws (I am a procrastinator, I make excuses, I neglect practicing self-care), the next step is to accept your situation. Accept your failures and your triumphs. Acceptance will immediately smooth out any feelings of anxiety that may have cropped up. Practice viewing yourself without any criticism – simply see yourself as you are. This is almost always exceptionally difficult to do, so start off slowly. “I make excuses to neglect self-care.” Say it aloud.
After acknowledgment and acceptance, you will finally be ready to work towards self-betterment. Make a change. Choose one small area that needs improvement to start, and go from there. Look up a local yoga class, and get yourself to the studio – not tomorrow, not next week… today. After awhile, acknowledging flaws calmly and addressing them almost simultaneously will become second nature. Some call this skill ‘radical acceptance’ – it is a skill that involves abandoning all self-judgment, aversion, and forbearance, and moving through every situation with acceptance. Of course, accepting your current situation does not give you a free pass to stagnate. Work towards self-betterment whenever you see the possibility, and soon you will be living a life beyond your wildest dreams.