Yesterday, I wrote about changing negative thoughts into positives. Today, I ask: can you apply this activity to your own personality? Can you see the ‘best’ in your ‘worst’?
Can you say thank you to your most-hated flaws?
For a long time, my ‘worst’ was my anxiety.
I hated my lack of confidence, my shyness, my anxiety. Part of me hated myself too. I couldn’t understand why other people seems to be able to do really adventurous things so calmly and confidently, whereas I couldn’t speak to a group of people without shaking. Why was I like this? What was wrong with me? Why was I different?
I felt lonely and bitter. To my mind, I’d been unfairly treated by the universe – given a mind practically spewing with hopes, dreams, adventure and ambition – with none of the self-esteem to make any of it happen. Like a cruel joke.
Nowadays, after years of battling my anxiety, I’ve accepted that we have no choice other than to co-habit the same head, as peacefully as possible. I can also appreciate that I wouldn’t be half the person I am today, if it weren’t for this part of me that I despised for so long.
If it weren’t for my anxiety, I might never have gone into teaching. As terrifying as it was, I chose this career because it seemed like a much safer option than anything in the business world.
If it weren’t for my anxiety, teaching (and sudden exposure to everything I had spent my life avoiding) wouldn’t have triggered a worsening of my symptoms, causing me to finally address the issue and say yes to a course of CBT.
If it weren’t for my anxiety, I wouldn’t have had to completely re-think the way that I approached life through thoughts, body language, beliefs and behaviour, ultimately resulting in me becoming a much happier person.
If it weren’t for my anxiety – and the accompanying ‘impostor syndrome’ that followed me into every area of life – I would never have been such a hardworking, determined teacher. I would have never have mastered my craft as well as I have.
If it weren’t for my anxiety – I wouldn’t have realised that I really loved working with children, finding so much humour, wisdom and comfort in their honesty.
If it weren’t for my anxiety, I would never have been drawn to support vulnerable children – children with special needs, emotional issues and of course, anxiety. I wouldn’t have had the courage to speak up on their behalf or work so tirelessly to ensure that they got a good deal, socially as well as academically.
If it weren’t for my anxiety, I never would have become so obsessed with growth, transformation and learning – for myself and everyone around me. I wouldn’t have thought to start my own business, driven by a desire to help those like myself in building up skills like confidence and resilience in school, hopefully bypassing years of avoidance and misery.
If it weren’t for my anxiety, I wouldn’t have developed my cheery personality, my self-deprecating humour; my incredible work ethic; my vivid imagination; my generosity; my thoughtful, supportive nature towards others.
If it weren’t for my anxiety, I wouldn’t have felt the need to start this blog and share my story, in the hope of inspiring others who face similar struggles.
If I’d written this blog ten years ago, the list of positives would have been much shorter. I know that it’s not easy to view things from this perspective when you’re in the midst of darkness.
Still – I’m going to set you a challenge – Can you find one benefit to your most-hated ‘flaw?’ Whether it’s anxiety or something completely unrelated, I’d love to hear your thoughts as to how this weakness has given you strength. Comments welcome below: