Live your best life …
“All of your so called faults, all of the things you don’t like about yourself, are your greatest assets. They are simply over amplified. The volume has been turned up a bit too much, that’s all.” This quote from Neale Donald Walsch comes from his foreword to Debbie Ford’s book, The Dark Side of Light Chasers. He goes on to say the following about faults, ” All I had to do was use those behaviours differently. Not repress them. Not disown them. Simply use them differently.”
Most people that I have spoken to are not comfortable with aspects of themselves. There are times when they have been too critical, impatient, intolerant, rude or not perfect enough and they work hard to hide these aspects or at the very least, keep them under control.
We all have faults that we’d prefer to sweep under the rug or hide in a dark cupboard but eventually a lumpy rug is uncomfortable to walk on and things hidden in cupboards fall on our heads at the least opportune times.
If we agree that to be truly ‘whole’, we need to appreciate every part of ourselves, how do we welcome the faults we would rather hide? What does this look like in practice?
The dictionary definition of welcome states, ” To greet the coming of a person (in this case a fault) with pleasure and kindly courtesy.” That would mean that we would look forward to embracing our faults and showing them kindly courtesy! Wow. For those of us who have spent years being ashamed of being overly critical, impatient and not quite good enough, it’s a head spin to consider our faults in this way.
But, this is the road we are invited to travel. The road that would have us meet our faults and form a respectful relationship with them.
The relationship model is a particularly good way of understanding the interactions that occur with all aspects of ourselves. A strained relationship with your faults causes all sorts of angst just as it does with family or friends. On the other hand, a good relationship with family and friends gives pleasure and satisfaction and enriches our lives. Similarly, welcoming our faults and learning to live with them will enrich us as well.
Does welcoming faults feel really uncomfortable at first? Y-e-s. Of course it does. It seems to go against the grain. It seems unnatural.
The following exercise are designed to assist in developing such a relationship. Like any relationship, it may take time and effort to develop but it is extremely worthwhile. These exercises may seem quite simple at first sight. I encourage you not to underestimate their simplicity and dismiss them. They are designed to begin the repair process with a relationship that has been strained to breaking point. Therefore, of necessity, a go softly approach is needed.
You will need to call on your imagination for assistance. Some people are a little concerned that by using their imagination they are just playing at make believe and wonder if they can trust the information that comes via this route. As far as I’m concerned, imagination is the perfect tool to break down the barriers placed between you and the welcoming of your faults.
1.Let’s Meet For a Coffee
Choose a time when you are not likely to be disturbed and make yourself a coffee ( or a drink of your liking). Invite your fault to join you. Greet your fault with as much ‘kindly courtesy’ as you are able. Talk to your fault. Ask it how it is feeling and what it needs. Then listen. When this dialogue is approached with an open mind and with no preconceived outcomes, surprising discoveries are often made. You may also tell your fault about your feelings and what you need. Once again, listen with an open mind. Check how you feel about your fault at the end of your meeting.
2. In the Open Air
If you find that talking to your fault is too hard just yet, take your fault for a walk or a run. You don’t need to do anything except be aware that it is with you. You could describe what you see as you walk or run as a way of maintaining a connection with your fault. Remember that you are beginning to repair a broken or strained relationship with this part of yourself. Check how you feel about your fault at the completion of the exercise. Even a small shift in your feelings is a success.
You need to find a way to begin; a way to BE with your fault without wanting to hide it or annihilate it.
3. Across a Crowded Room
When you are experiencing a high level of disapproval for a particular fault, the last thing you may want to do is to talk to or socialise with it. And whilst you need to honour the emotion you feel, nothing will change unless you are willing to make some room for this fault. For example, could you stand in a doorway to a large, crowded room and observe your fault from that distance for a short time? Yes? Acknowledge yourself for this success. Next, are you willing to enter the crowded room where you need only to stay as long as you are able. Yes? Celebrate your success. Eventually, you will be able to be in the same room as your disapproved of fault whether it is crowded or not. Any relationship, as tenuous as this one, needs time to develop gradually. Honesty and willingness are needed for success. There is no point in forcing this relationship just to get it over and done with, I have tried and it does not work. Remember, it will take as long as it takes. When we choose to persevere with these relationship mending exercises, we are choosing caring over rejection and with that comes acceptance and wholeness.
4. Welcoming Committee
Sometimes, we just need help to do what is in our best interests. It is okay to call on qualities that you are happy with (example: Courage, Goodwill or Adventurous— name your own) to help you welcome your fault. Use your imagination to create a setting. For example, it could be a gathering around a camp fire. Your qualities would be there to assist you. Your job is to be present and interact to the best of your ability. Remember to only give from the store of welcome or goodwill that you have available this day. It will be enough to get started. How do you feel about your fault now?
5. Party Time
This is an exercise that can be done when you have a reasonable amount of tolerance for your fault or you have found the value/positive side to this fault. It’s called a Criticism Party or an Impatience Party (named after whatever fault is being addressed) Use your imagination and create a setting; select costumes if that helps. If you are holding a criticism party, you can criticise the pants off anyone and they are allowed to do the same to you. Do the criticism dance or the criticism conga!!!The more exaggerated the action, the more ridiculous it all becomes and you will laugh or at least smile. Criticism gets top ‘hang out’ without any judgement. Using your imagination in this way will lighten the mood and relieve the angst associated with certain faults.
The bottom line is that all our faults have a need to belong. A mixture of so called ‘good’ qualities and ‘faults’ make up the whole package for each of us. We need to remember that we are all creators and we create in response to the circumstances in our lives. Everyone has creations of which they are not proud but pushing these creations away or denying their existence does nothing to solve the problem or give us a clean slate. Our job is to find the value in each fault ( a behaviour that is over amplified) and appreciate it.
So, if you are ashamed of your critical part ( remember that it is over amplified) turn that down and see your analytical side; your impatience may hide enthusiasm and efficiency; your ‘not perfect enough’ may point to a dedicated worker.
Please note: you will get many opportunities to repair the relationship with your fault(s). Until a fault is fully integrated, that is to say, does not bother you any more, it will keep on making an appearance in your life. Happy repairing.
May I encourage you to care for all your faults. Your life will become richer for it.
Be kind to yourself