How Admitting Your Weaknesses Could Actually Make You Stronger

“The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” ~Nathaniel Branden

Do me a favor and don’t tell my wife what I’m about to share with you.

I have an absurd number of weaknesses.

Just kidding. My wife, of course, knows this. She is well aware of my many shortcomings. While she would be happy to add to the growing Encyclopedia of dumb shit I do, I will keep this short and sweet out of respect for your time.

We live in a weird culture that’s afraid to admit any of us have weaknesses or struggles. We’re terrified because none of us want to look stupid or unqualified.

We pretend to be squeaky-clean specimens of perfection, but inside, our minds are on the verge of exploding as we obsess over questions like: What will people think of me? Will they think I’m dumb? Will I be passed up for a promotion? Will others discover that I’m struggling? Am I actually a fraud?!

What makes this even more challenging is that it’s a silly game we all willingly play.

Think of a typical job interview.

HR: “So, Terry, we’re really impressed with everything you shared today, but we have one final question. What would you say is your biggest weakness?”

Terry: “This one’s really hard to admit, but it’s got to be that I work too hard. I’m always willing to go above and beyond to get the job done.”

HR: “Wow, thank you for being so vulnerable, Terry. You sound like you’d be a great fit for mentoring our new hires as they navigate the challenges of working in a fast-paced environment.”

Here’s the truth: We both know Terry is full of crap. Like, c’mon, Terry, is that really your biggest weakness? That you work too hard? Are you sure it’s not that you’re an emotional black hole since your divorce, which is why your kids don’t talk to you?

I’m aware that what I’m about to share sounds contradictory, but it’s true. Admitting you have weaknesses is a sign of strength, not weakness. You must know what you can do and what you can’t, your powers and limitations, your strengths and vulnerabilities, what’s in your control and what isn’t.

There are obvious circumstances that make admitting our weaknesses easy. In fact, not realizing you are outside the scope of what you know in these situations makes you look about as bright as a jellyfish.

Break your leg? You go to the emergency room.

Car alternator blows? You go to a mechanic.

Time to do your business taxes? You go to an accountant.

But here’s where we all start to fall apart. What about when you’re depressed, hopeless, or emotionally drained, and you don’t know how to help yourself?

What do most of us do in the above scenario?

Sweet eff all.

Actually, that’s not true. We double down on negative habits like drinking, eating, shopping, or mindlessly scrolling on our phones, hoping something will change our state.

We’re not weak, right?

We don’t have a problem, right?

Who cares if we’re not addressing our emotions? There’s work to be done. I already don’t have time to get everything done, so why would I waste time on crap like this?

It’s embarrassing to admit that I believed not addressing my weaknesses was a sign of strength.

My depression only made me weak because I kept it hidden in the shadows—not because mental health struggles are signs of inherent weakness. I endured relentless suffering, tormented by the belief that I was a worthless bag of flesh who subjected my loved ones to my endless mistakes and would be better off dead.

What was I trying to prove?

Why was I so afraid of looking weak?

Would I be less of a man?

And here’s the irony. By asking those questions, I realized that I was the one labeling these weaknesses as such. That shift empowered me to confront these challenges head-on, seeking the support of a therapist and coach, and hold myself to a higher standard.

I’ve discovered that these “weaknesses” are sources of extraordinary growth. Therefore, acknowledging our weaknesses is the key to becoming stronger.

I was blind to the cost of my denial until I gained a different perspective. I needed a new pair of glasses to show me that how you do anything is how you do everything.

When I viewed these moments as gravity problems—things I couldn’t do anything about—I felt hopeless about everything in my life. But when I realized that these were challenges that I could overcome, I was given the opportunity to see that I could conquer any obstacle in my path if I was willing to embrace imperfection.

Don’t let the subtlety of this shift in thinking race past you as you read the rest of this story. Understand first that you and I are having this conversation because I chose life.

If you don’t address a broken leg, you’re going to hobble around like a pirate for the rest of your life.

If you don’t fix your alternator, you have a 3,000-pound paperweight.

If you don’t get an accountant to handle your business taxes, you will pay dearly to the tax man.

And if you don’t address your emotional issues?

You will forever be anchored to a tiny, scared version of yourself. Never capable of reaching your potential.

It’s not enough to know that you have weaknesses; you must know when you’ve reached the limit of what you can figure out independently. You’re outside your boundaries if you don’t know which side of the line you’re on, or if there even is a line at all.

I’m not here to tell you what to do, but you can bet I will leave you with a question.

Six months from now, what will you wish you had spent time on today? What action would help you get the support you need to overcome something you’ve been struggling with?

Calling a friend?

Grabbing breakfast with your mom?

Booking a therapist appointment?

That, my friend, is what matters most.

And nothing else on your to-do list will fulfill you if you don’t prioritize it.

Choosing not to act now is delaying a better future. So, whatever you’re going to do, do it. Do it now. Don’t wait.

About Chris Wilson

Join Chris Wilson in 'Simplify Sundays,' a newsletter journey blending productivity insights, minimalism, and personal growth. Overcoming depression and bipolar disorder, Chris shares profound lessons for a balanced, fulfilling life. Discover the power of simplicity and mindfulness to transform challenges into growth opportunities. Embrace a life of less stress, more joy, and meaningful living. [Click here to access Chris's Free Course] on mindful simplicity, and start your journey towards a happier, more productive life.

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