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These 6 Amazing Things Will Happen When You Embrace Your Weaknesses

These 6 Amazing Things Will Happen When You Embrace Your Weaknesses

Let’s be honest: whether we want to admit it or not, there are many things in life that we aren’t good at doing. Even so, it’s not easy to embrace your weaknesses and accept the fact that there are some things you aren’t good at.

There are several things that can make it difficult to recognize your weaknesses. Excessive pride, low-self esteem, or fears that you’re fundamentally not good enough can get in the way. On the other hand, you might genuinely believe that you’re good at a particular thing until the truth punches you in the face.

In this article, I would like to share the amazing things that can happen when you actually decide to fully embrace your weaknesses:

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1. You’ll unlock great opportunities

Fully embracing your weaknesses is the only way to work on them. Doing so allows you to make positive changes in your life and creates opportunities for growth. Will you make peace with your weaknesses or will you work to only conceal them? Regardless of your choice, fully acknowledging them is the first step.

Working on your weaknesses can yield amazing results. For instance, low self-confidence might be hindering your ability to attain success and happiness. In this case, focusing on that particular weakness and taking full responsibility for it would produce several positive changes. It would likely unveil hidden potential and create significant momentum in your life.

Of course, trying to get rid of a certain weakness isn’t always the best idea. Not every weakness can or should be changed. Sometimes, all you need is the courage to recognize it and accept that you can’t or shouldn’t do anything about it. After all, imperfections are part of being human. You aren’t a superhero, and no one is asking you to be.

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2. You’ll uncover your fears

Fears can masquerade as weaknesses, which means that finding the courage to acknowledge your shortcomings may be the first step in facing your fears. Ask yourself the following question: “Am I genuinely bad at this particular thing, or am I just scared of doing it?”

Many of us think we’re genuinely bad at something when we actually aren’t. In many cases, we’re only bad at it because we’re running away from it or failed to face it properly in the past. Are your shortcomings disguises for fears you’re trying to avoid, or are they “legitimate” flaws that you can accept and move on from? The answer is within, and you’ll find out if you’re fully honest with yourself. In any case, allow your weaknesses to guide you.

3. You’ll reduce your ego

For many of us, pride stops us from fully acknowledging our flaws. We’re afraid of being seen as weak or we’re scared of showing our vulnerability to others. This causes us to become defensive whenever someone points out our shortcomings or threatens our self-image. Have you noticed that defensiveness is usually a sign of denial? When someone points out a weakness that you have not yet accepted, it hurts your feelings. By learning to embrace your flaws, however, you’ll reduce your ego and diminish your fears. You’ll be happier with yourself, which will allow you to drop the defensiveness and accept constructive criticism without feeling hurt.

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4. You’ll develop self-compassion

Have you ever felt inadequate because of a weakness? If so, you may feel ashamed and try to hide it. You may even feel that people would no longer accept you if they discovered your little secret. Well, it’s more likely than not that there are millions of people who have the same secret.

Maybe you have trouble remembering people’s names, or perhaps you aren’t good at socializing during events. Whatever your weakness may be, why not embrace it or work on it rather than trying to hide it? You could even try taking it less seriously and laughing about it. Accepting your shortcomings will foster self-compassion and allow you to stop beating yourself up.

5. You’ll accept help from others

When you embrace your weaknesses, you can welcome the help and input of others without getting defensive. You can take their opinions into consideration and be willing to change or accept criticism without feeling the need to react. You simply own your weaknesses and see others as part of your growth, rather than potential threats.

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6. You’ll build deeper and more meaningful connections with people

Embracing your weaknesses allows you to build stronger connections with others. People will appreciate the fact that you’re willing to show your vulnerability. They’ll also value your authenticity and admire the fact that you have the courage to be yourself.

Embracing your weaknesses and sharing your true self will make others feel comfortable doing the same with you. You’ll start to see the people around you opening up and sharing their own weaknesses and struggles with you. This will allow you to build stronger, deeper, and more meaningful connections with them.

So what are you waiting for? Start embracing your weaknesses today! Whether you choose to work on your flaws or accept them, don’t be afraid to share more of yourself with the world.

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Featured photo credit: Grasshopper via pixabay.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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