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On Personality Flaws and Making Magic

February 25, 2016

By Jacinta Hin

The other day, over lunch, my friend and I talked about our dreams and goals and what we want to achieve this year. We discussed all the movements we are looking for in our lives: lifestyle changes and other pivotal issues in need of an overhaul. We have been friends for a long time and understand each other well, having similar personalities. Conflict and confrontation are a no-go zone: when our loved ones are happy, so are we.

But are we really? We both know that our non-confrontational nature is both a gift and a curse. How can we make life more about ourselves, we asked each other; How can we pursue our dreams without neglecting the people we love? How can we get comfortable with the idea that sometimes, to say Yes to ourselves, we must say No to others?

We are not afraid to aim for the stars. We know that if we devote ample time and energy to fulfilling our dreams, we can make them come true. But we stand in our own way. If we keep giving in to the peace-at-all-costs default setting of our psychological make-up, we likely will end up having the same conversation next year. For us, “Who do we want to be?” is probably a better question than “What do we want to achieve?”

Nobody is perfect. Nothing new here, nothing to be worried about, you may think. But when a personality trait or habit is obstructing happiness and growth, we have work to do. And this is hard and scary and requires us to be brutally honest and fearlessly brave. We not always see how these progress-delaying aspects play up. We all have a stubborn streak, an inner wall we refuse to climb over. We may even be proud of our flaws, thinking they are a strength (which at the same time they can be), or lack confidence that we can change.

For most of my life, I have been unaware of how my agreeable nature is holding me back, even getting me into trouble at times. I sometimes wonder how I managed not to have disappeared into the background by now, invisible, reduced to the role of a servant. I realise I could have, was it not for my curiosity to know myself deeply and figure out the secrets of life.

How about you? What aspect of yourself is preventing you from having a full and healthy self-centered life? Is it fear of showing weakness? A need to be in control, or to be perfect? Do you always have to know best? Are you a self-promoter? Competitive? A people-pleaser? Do you feel inadequate, less worthy than others? Or believe that other people are better off than you? Are you a worrier, a pessimist? Do you believe there is no way out of once made choices? Anything else that comes to mind that is unique to you?

Have a conversation with yourself and/or someone you trust. Preferably both. And remember that you don’t need a lecture. All you need is acceptance and space for reflection.

My friend and I will never be masters of conflict, but we can learn how our fear of hurting, disappointing and angering others is holding us back from doing what is right for us. We can learn how to break through this barrier. Instead of always reacting automatically we can learn how to choose a different response that serves us better. We can work on being bold and brave and uncomfortable. And embrace the idea of being strong in being vulnerable.

In doing so, we will grow and thrive. We will free up time for what matters most and create space for the magic we want to invite in our lives.

What is your dream? What are your goals? And who do you need to be to make it all happen?

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About the author: Jacinta Hin was born in the Netherlands and has been living in Tokyo, Japan, since 1989. Her professional background is in human resources, career management and coaching. She is passionate about helping people, herself included, discover new perspectives of possibility, move to embracing and working with their transitions, and designing and realizing changes aligned with who they truly are and what they truly want from their lives.
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