Celebrate Your Quirks!
by Kathy Gates
About 7 years ago, I became deaf in my left ear, due to nerve damage. At
first I wanted to hide it, ignore it, pretend it didn't exist. That didn't work
too well, so my next strategy was to make sure that people were always on my
"good" side. I pushed for the right chair at the restaurant table, and was
always sidestepping those I walked with to get into position. It was a lot of
work! And most of the time I still said "huh?" a whole lot anyway.
Sound familiar? Do you have something that you spend a lot of time trying to
hide, or justify, or manage.
What if instead, you chose to acknowledge your quirk, and accept it as part of
who you are. This may be a novel idea to a lot of you who spend a lot of time
trying to "overcome" a (perceived) weakness.
The key idea here is that you learn to enjoy the person that you are, instead of
trying to become someone. I'm absolutely NOT advocating that you use it as an
excuse, or a wall to hide behind. I'm absolutely NOT advocating that you lower
your standards, or even not work on raising your standards.
I'm simply suggesting a different approach. By being honest with others, and
with yourself, you take responsibility for how your weakness affects your life
and the people you care about. And THAT'S what you work on.
By accepting a weakness, it allows you to be honest with people. Example, "I
don't hear well on my left, so you'll probably need to tap me to get my
attention." Instead of feeling embarrassed or guilty, or spending a lot of
energy trying to hide it, I am able to just be honest about it.
Accepting that you have weaknesses helps you recognize and accept that other
people also have weaknesses, or 'quirks' just like you do. It helps you see how
your quirkiness affects them, and how their personal preferences or quirks (or
weakness if you insist!) affect you. It helps you ask for patience and
understanding, and be more willing to be patient and understanding as well. And
isn't that what you're really looking for in the first place?
Let's take this a step further.
Often there are even good things lurking untapped under a (perceived) weakness.
My hearing loss has made me more sensitive to body language and tone, and I
often pick up on things that haven't been expressed in words.
I have a friend who is known for being "picky", and it can drive her family a
little nuts at times. But that attention to detail has gotten her promoted in
her job more than once.
Where would TV's Joan Rivers be without her "weakness" for gossip? Not rich and
famous, that's for sure!
However, it's important to remember that a happy life is all about balance --
everything in moderation. Anything that runs your life (or ruins it), even if
it's a "good trait", is swinging the pendulum too far the other way.
A good example would be if you perceive your weakness to be that you are a
worrier, yet you find that being cautious and skeptical has kept you from doing
some things you're glad you didn't do, that's great.
But if worrying is keeping you from living a full life, then it's swung too far
the other direction. See the difference?
In your life, you are equal to more than the just the sum of all your parts.
It's the combination of them, that makes you special, unique, loveable, and
quite frankly, interesting. It's the balance of them that makes for a happier,
healthier, easier, better life.
If you try to "overcome" or deny your quirks, you'll end up denying yourself.
And that's no way to live. Success is about living life on your own terms –
whatever you define that to be. And sometimes the imperfections are the best
Kathy Gates is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach in Scottsdale Arizona
who specializes in focus and motivation. She will coach you via email or
telephone, your choice. Take a look at Real Life Coach (http://www.reallifecoach.com)
for more information.