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  • Writer's pictureChristina Rhyser

How to EMBRACE our Character Traits



Dear Christy,


It hurts my feelings when my husband complains that I'm a control freak. There might be some truth to it if I'm honest, but what does he expect when he doesn't do things properly? If I don't stay on top of everything, nobody would ever be on time, the kids would never be fed, and the house itself would seriously fall apart. What's wrong with me liking things to be done a certain way? Does that make me a control freak? What am I supposed to do instead - change my personality? Stop caring about the things I care about? I feel judged and criticized and rejected. I don't even know what my real question is. Maybe I just needed to vent.


Thanks for listening,

Sherry


 

Dear Sherry,


Nobody likes to be criticized and I think it's pretty expected to have some hurt feelings. Thanks for trusting me with your vent.


You've exposed several layers to what's going on here. One, is your relationship with your husband and how you communicate with one another; two, is your possible lack of co-parenting synergy; and three, is your uncertainty around your own character traits. For the first two issues involving your husband I would direct you to my post about "Co-parenting Synergy" where I talk about ways to express your needs and requests. For the third issue involving your own character traits, I have compiled a new article about this topic and have attached it below.


For further reference I recommend exploring the work of Martin Seligman. Start by taking his VIA Character Traits Survey then let me know if you have more questions.


Christy


 

CHARACTER TRAITS


In the journey of self-discovery and personal growth, we often find ourselves grappling with our character traits—those inherent qualities and tendencies that shape who we are and how we navigate the world. What if our goal was not to change who we are, but to fully embrace our authentic selves with grace and honor, harnessing our strengths and reframing our weaknesses?


Rethinking the Narrative

In traditional frameworks of character assessment, traits such as kindness, honesty, and perseverance are often praised as virtues, while traits like impulsivity, sensitivity, or introversion may be viewed more negatively. However, this black-and-white perspective fails to capture the nuanced nature of human personality and behavior. Every trait exists on a spectrum, and its impact depends on the context in which it is expressed.


Instead of labeling traits as inherently "good" or "bad," we can ask ourselves a more nuanced question: Are these traits helpful or unhelpful in the context of our lives and relationships? By reframing the narrative in this way, we open ourselves up to a more compassionate and holistic understanding of ourselves and others.


Embracing Our Authentic Selves

Embracing our character traits means accepting ourselves exactly as we are, flaws and all. It means recognizing that our strengths and weaknesses are intertwined, and that each trait serves a purpose in our lives. Rather than trying to suppress or change aspects of ourselves that we perceive as negative, we can choose to embrace our whole authentic selves with grace and honor.


This doesn't mean we become complacent or resign ourselves to our limitations. On the contrary, it means acknowledging our weaknesses without judgment and taking ownership of our choices. It means harnessing our strengths to overcome challenges and cultivate a life that aligns with our values and aspirations.


Harnessing Our Strengths

Every character trait, no matter how seemingly insignificant or troublesome, has its own unique strengths and benefits. Sensitivity may allow us to empathize deeply with others and forge meaningful connections. Impulsivity may fuel creativity and spontaneity. Introversion may foster introspection and self-awareness.


By embracing our character traits with grace and honor, we can harness the inherent strengths within them and leverage them to our advantage. This requires a shift in mindset—from viewing our traits as obstacles to seeing them as assets that contribute to our growth and fulfillment.


Reframing Our Weaknesses

Just as every trait has its strengths, it also has its challenges. Sensitivity may make us more vulnerable to emotional fluctuations. Impulsivity may lead to hasty decisions with unintended consequences. Introversion may result in social withdrawal and isolation.


However, rather than viewing these weaknesses as fixed limitations, we can reframe them as opportunities for growth and learning. By acknowledging our areas of vulnerability with grace and honor, we can develop strategies to manage them more effectively and mitigate their impact on our lives.


Cultivating Grace & Honour

Embracing our character traits requires a foundation of grace and honour —the ability to extend kindness and understanding to ourselves, especially in moments of struggle or self-doubt. It means acknowledging that we are all imperfect beings, and that our worth is not contingent on our achievements or perceived shortcomings.


Honouring the best parts of ourselves allows us to approach our character traits with a spirit of curiosity and openness, rather than judgment and criticism. It encourages us to embrace our whole selves—the light and the shadow—and to recognize that our inherent worthiness lies in our humanity.



CONCLUSION:

In the journey of self-discovery and personal growth, embracing our character traits with grace and honor is an act of radical self-acceptance. It requires courage, vulnerability, and a willingness to confront the parts of ourselves that we may prefer to hide or deny. But in doing so, we unlock the full potential of our authenticity and pave the way for a life of greater meaning, connection, and fulfillment.


So let us embrace our character traits—helpful and unhelpful alike—with open arms and open hearts. Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of human nature, and let us strive to make choices that honor the full spectrum of who we are. For it is in embracing our whole authentic selves that we truly find freedom, joy, and fulfillment.


 

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