Love Your Flaws

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Change What Needs Changing

Looking for the upside of your weaknesses doesn't mean that you should simply accept your negative traits or behaviors. "If your flaw has caused harm to you or someone else, it's okay to feel bad -- but that's not the place to stop," says psychiatrist Louis Tartaglia, MD, author of the self-help book Flawless! Instead of getting stuck in frustration, see your uncomfortable feelings as a catalyst for change.

"The happiest people seize the opportunity to examine their faults," says Hicks. "And then they keep the positive aspects of them while working to improve the aspects that hold them back. When you do that you feel in greater control of your life."

Of course, self-improvement is easier said than done. "There's a neurological basis for personality," says psychologist Travis Bradberry, PhD, coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0. "If you have a particular personality trait, you're kind of stuck with it." What you can change is how you deal with that trait and how you relate to others.

But start with self-awareness. Dr. Bradberry recommends that you take a standardized personality test. Once you're aware of your challenges, you need to actively work on your emotional intelligence by paying close attention to how your flaws affect others -- that is, when they're useful as opposed to when they're destructive.

For example, do you tend to be a total perfectionist? Having an eye for what's wrong can be positive if you're an artist or an accountant, Dr. Felder says, but it can be a relationship killer. The solution? Pick when to be vigilant and make a conscious effort not to be vigilant in other areas of your life.

Continued on page 4:  Use It for Good, Not Bad


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