I was born an introvert—and pretty much every day since I’ve felt pressure to be anything other than that! Perhaps you’ve felt pressures to be something you’re not as well?
In this article, you’ll learn that what you think of as flaws can be the source of your most powerful passions and greatest gifts!
Now, some say that introversion isn’t something you’re born with (as if it’s some kind of disease). It’s more of a personal weakness, the result of trauma, or just a bad case of anxiety. They say we can all learn to speak up more, be more outgoing, be a bit more risky, whoop it up, and have more fun.
Believe me, over the years, I’ve tried all of it.
I’ve tried doing more public speaking, going to more parties, having more friends, doing more webinars, and teaching more classes. And, without fail, I CAN DO all of those things. I can muster it up and put on a more extroverted facade. I can come across calm and confident in those situations and often feel that way, too.
It can be good to get out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. Growth is a good thing and I highly recommend it. We are here to expand beyond our perceived limits.
And, yet, there is another kind of growth that may be even more powerful, important, and effective. That’s the growth you gain when you turn one of your natural “flaws” into a powerful asset.
Back to my introvert story.
Now, normally, I don’t like to make too much of labels, but, in this case, the category Introversion just fits me like a glove. A few years back, I answered an Introversion Questionnaire (in the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain) and scored a definitive 20 out of 20 on all statements related to preferences toward introversion. And, I had no doubts on any of my answers. No hesitation whatsoever.
So, while recognizing that we all have a variety of different moments, this tendency for me is just pretty darn natural. I am quite sure that the phrase “He was so quiet” will be etched on my grave.
O.K. so I have this natural tendency, what’s the big deal?
Well, it turns out there’s a pretty strong bias against introversion in our culture. Extroverted qualities are much more highly-valued and rewarded, while introverted qualities are, well, pretty much misunderstood.
“Why are you so quiet? Why do you like to spend time by yourself? Why do you move so slowly? Why do you like to meditate and read books? Why would you prefer a quiet chapel to a rowdy party? You mean there’s an asset to being like that?”
It turns out that, “YES, THERE IS.”
Those who tend toward introversion also tend to concentrate well. They tend to be good at meditation. They prefer to take their time, which helps them be deliberate and precise. They are generally good at persistence. They often prefer to write rather than speak and tend to articulate their thoughts best on paper.
They are sensitive to feelings, their own and others’, and can be great listeners and one-on-one communicators. Though they don’t prefer small talk, they can go deep in discussions. And, though their relationships may be fewer in number, they treasure them and can be quite loyal.
Hmmm. . . Maybe there are some gifts in my introversion.
Maybe, instead of spending too much time and energy trying to be more extroverted, I would gain even more by developing the gifts in this seeming liability? Maybe this flaw is the source of my most powerful passions?
Maybe, I can turn my passion for meditation into instruction for others? My passion for reading and writing into books, articles, and programs? My passion for mind-body exercises into a career as a holistic fitness trainer?
Now, if you would, take a moment to think of a personal quality you have that others have criticized. Maybe, you’ve learned to be hard on yourself about it, too? Is there anything that comes to mind for you?
Is it possible to apply a different lens to that quality and see the potential asset in it?
For example, if you tend to be anxious, afraid, and a bit paranoid—maybe you are good at noticing potential pitfalls or dangers and designing ways to avoid them? Maybe, you could be a good cyber-security expert, event planner, or quality engineer?
If you have been a victim of abuse, maybe you can learn to heal your wounds and be a counselor for others who’ve been through similar experiences?
If you were a scrawny kid who got beat up a lot, maybe you can learn self-defense and teach that to others?
If you are “overly-emotional,” maybe you are highly-empathic and can be a great support and guide for others experiencing emotional challenges?
The key is to see how you can turn a perceived personal liability into an asset for yourself and a service to others. What if that is a secret to living with passion and purpose? What if that is a secret to being a joyful co-creator of your life?
Can you imagine what your life would be like if you truly embraced your flaws and transformed them into your greatest gifts?
Enjoy your practice!
The Mind-Body Training Company
P.S. What’s the greatest “flaw” of all? Every “flaw” you think you’ve ever had is based on the belief that there is such a thing as a “me” that is incomplete. Huh? OK, let me say it another way. . .
We’ve all had experiences of “oneness” or “enlightenment”, yet most of us still see ourselves as “damaged goods”, unworthy, or incomplete in some way. We believe “I am flawed” and that “enlightenment” is a separate state of consciousness yet to be achieved.
This is paradoxical and perplexing for many of us – because on the one hand, you already are love and light — on the other hand, it takes PRACTICE before this realization becomes your moment-by-moment experience….
If you want to make the shift to this new way of being, right now, we’re developing something new you’re going to love. You can learn more and take the next step here: