Do you ever feel that certain aspects of your personality could be holding you back from reaching your full potential? You’re not alone. While we are often aware of areas for improvement, as we go about our lives, we could still be confronted by our flaws in the most subtle and unexpected ways. In any case, don’t give up - here are ways to turn your personality weaknesses into strengths:
Achilles’ heel is a symbol from greek mythology that refers to weakness in spite of overall strength. No matter who we are, we all have certain weaknesses that get in the way of our everyday interactions. In fact, our greatest strength is sometimes also our greatest point of vulnerability.
Looking back on past experiences and reflecting on our attitudes and reactions can help us identify our weaknesses and work on them. Here are some questions that can help you dig deep: When x happens, how do I usually react? What usually happens as a result? Is there a pattern?
To be able to turn our weaknesses into strengths, we need to get a good understanding of the areas where they are strengths! For example, a person who is a chronic overthinker may also have excellent analytical skills and a reputation for paying attention to detail. Do you see both sides of the coin? Look for similar scenarios in your own life where your weaknesses could be strengths.
As you become more observant, you’ll realize that there is a time and a place for every attitude, emotion, and action. As a result, rather than becoming discouraged by your personality traits, you’ll understand that it is often a matter of applying them to the right context.
Related: What is Intrapersonal Intelligence?
Honest feedback from someone you trust can be incredibly insightful. While it’s impossible for anyone to understand every aspect of your personality, a close friend or relative can usually see things that you might miss. Getting another perspective can understand how you are perceived, especially in areas where you may have experienced conflicts in the past.
Although it can be hard to hear, try to listen when people express their observations. Such feedback can be like another piece of the puzzle that helps you better understand the role you play in your interpersonal relationships.
Now that you are more aware of your weaknesses, you can take steps to become a better version of yourself. Creating a personal development plan can help you structure your goals and strategically identify opportunities to improve. Focus on your mindset to help you overcome your weaknesses - it’s the foundation for your behaviours and actions.
Put forth your best effort to make the necessary changes, but don’t get overwhelmed, even if you feel like you have a lot to work on. Working on our weaknesses is an ongoing journey, so celebrate every sign of progress.
There is the saying that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Remember this when it comes to your personality - it is much more than the combination of individual strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, you are much more than what may be revealed in a personality assessment.
At the end of the day, your strengths and weaknesses make you unique, interesting, and different from every other person on the planet. Embrace yourself as a whole, and realize that the end result - who you are - surpasses any individual personal trait.
Let’s look at ways to turn certain weaknesses into strengths, using Myers-Briggs examples. If you're not familiar with it, you can learn more about the Myers-Briggs personality types framework here.
It can be difficult to develop close friendships when you are private and withdrawn by nature. INTPs are known for being shy and withdrawn in social settings. INFJs are also known for being extremely private, which can make it hard for them to truly open up, even to close friends. ISTPs are also notoriously reserved and difficult to get to know, often preferring silence to small talk.
These personality types can overcome challenges by recognizing when this weakness is a strength - for example, silence allows intellect and insightful thinking to flourish. However, they could consider ways to come out of their comfort zone and benefit from opportunities for friendship and mutual encouragement.
Personality types that are fiercely independent are more likely to feel a sense of oppression when they have to conform to certain rules or standards. ISFPs strongly value freedom of expression and generally dislike traditions and hard rules. ESTPs are action-oriented and don’t like being boxed in. ESTJs are strong-willed and can struggle with accepting new ideas. INTJs loathe highly structured environments and refuse to follow anything without understanding why.
These personality types are usually creative and confident - they are able to make bold decisions and take responsibility for their actions. However, their fierce independence can sometimes make life harder than it needs to be. These personality types can enjoy greater peace by finding a balance and being open to other ways of doing things.
A willingness to help others is admirable, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed and exhausted when you struggle with saying no. ISFJs are known for their tendency to overload themselves or to be overloaded by others. ESFJs are known for their doting attention and support of others, which often leads to them neglecting their own needs in the process. ENFJs also tend to feel others’ problems as their own and spread themselves too thin.
These personality types should recognize the value they bring to the world through their loving and supportive nature. Their strong sense of duty makes them trustworthy and reliable friends. However, they should try to understand the implications of overburdening themselves - and how it can leave them unable to help anyone. Defining and implementing healthy boundaries can help them avoid emotional and physical exhaustion.
An outlook that fails to take other people’s emotions into account often causes conflict in interpersonal relationships. While not intentionally harsh, ISTJs may be insensitive in their blunt and direct reactions to others.
ENTJs can at times be intolerant of ideas that are based on emotional considerations. Their tendency to be emotionally distant can result in them inadvertently hurting their loved ones. ENTPs may try too hard to push their own vision, misjudging others’ feelings and pushing their debates way past others’ tolerance levels.
These personality types can be efficient and energetic, working hard and staying focused on their goals. However, they can benefit from being more flexible, and realizing the value of emotional expression in bonding with others.
When you struggle to focus, you might find yourself going in circles without actually getting anything done. ENFPs often find it difficult to focus and maintain interest in administrative tasks. INFPs have a tendency to neglect practical matters like day-to-day maintenance when something catches their attention. ESFPs may struggle to focus on anything that requires long-term dedication, rarely bothering to make detailed plans for the future.
These personality types are known for their creativity, excellent people skills, and their readiness to step out of their comfort zone when no one else is willing. However, they should aim to work towards realistic goals, and try to appreciate the fact that getting tedious tasks done allows us to focus on more creative pursuits.
The above examples demonstrate the kind of weaknesses that we all encounter in our daily lives. Understanding both sides of a personality trait can help us be more self-aware and make better decisions in the moment. It's empowering to know that you don’t have to be trapped by your flaws, because nothing is written in stone. As we put forth effort to recognize and work on personality weaknesses, we can ultimately turn them into strengths.
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