Love Your Flaws

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Look for the Strengths in Your Weaknesses

"Recognize that there's usually a good reason why you have this trait," says psychologist Leonard Felder, PhD, author of Fitting In Is Overrated. "Maybe it's a strength when used correctly or a survival skill that helped you earlier in life," he suggests. Do you tend to be stubborn and defiant? "Perhaps you had very judgmental parents and your stubbornness kept you creative, unique, and positive," Dr. Felder says. "That's great. But if it keeps you saying 'no one can tell me what to do' regardless of the situation, then it's a problem."

Lateness is almost always seen as a flaw. Still, there's an upside, says Dr. Felder: People who tend to be late are often spontaneous. "My wife, who is chronically late, takes me on fascinating detours I wouldn't have experienced with my vigilant, planning brain," he says. "I've learned to insist that we drive separately if I feel I need to be on time, but left to my own devices I'd miss out on enjoying the moment."

Even pessimism can potentially be a plus. Express your negative outlook every day and you're a Debbie Downer, he concedes, but if you're surrounded by relentless optimists, voicing a more skeptical take once or twice a month may just be a good reality check.

Continued on page 3:  Change What Needs Changing


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