Flaws with Benefits
For nearly my entire life, my tongue sat awkwardly inside my small jaw. It made it so that I couldn’t correctly pronounce complex sounds. This led to incoherent babbling, which led to bullying and a ruined self esteem.
The hardest thing for me to do was make the ‘r’ sound, which I still struggle with to this day. However, if you were to listen to me speak, you would never guess that I consciously press the sides of my tongue to my teeth every time I need to make the sound.
It’s difficult, it’s annoying. And, sometimes, I make a mistake and stumble over my own words.
However, I no longer think that having a speech impediment was the worst thing to happen. Looking back at my life, I can see how the dots connect. I would never have become the person I currently am if I didn’t struggle with speaking.
Everyone has something they wish they could change about themselves. Would you ever think that maybe this so called flaw actually helped make you, you?
“Mute” on Purpose
Now, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t fully mute, or did it come from a true trauma. The reason was because of the constant backlash every time I opened my mouth. The fear of being made fun of and being asked to repeat myself two, three, four times was tormenting for a young elementary school girl. I made a pact with myself every year, up until middle school, that I would not speak unless called on.
The result of this was astronomical. I paid more attention to those around me, to what they were saying and the way they reacted in conversations. I became a self-taught “empath” in that I can easily read people’s emotions. The psychology of my “mute” decision caused me to realize that we are all on our own journeys.
When I entered high school, this “mute” on purpose thing had basically withered away into an anxiety driven person. I rarely ever started a conversation, my closest friends had approached me themselves and my inner emotions orchestrated themselves through my novels and artwork.
My senior year of high school, a few months before graduation, is a good example of the outcome regarding all this. I had asked the teacher a question at her desk when this girl, who I had been in classes with for four straight years, turned to me and said, “Wow! I didn’t know you could speak!”
I mean, who would even say that to someone?
The embarrassment of that situation returned me to my seat. No, I never replied to her. What would someone even say? Yes, I can speak. Just not correctly.
There are many stories I could include about this “mute” on purpose ordeal, but positivity is something of a goal for me. I’m here to remind everyone that our flaws are not who we are, but instead are here for a specific reason.
This was a huge milestone that would lead me to find my life’s purpose of helping others.
Listening Instead of Speaking
Social anxiety, depression and this habit of quietness developed into a student who knew everyone, but was known by few. The few that did know me knew me as the “mom” of the group, with advice that was beyond my knowledge.
Simple. I saw everything and didn’t gossip, because somehow, I could see why people were that way. Through pain, guilt, angst and even just teenage hormones. I understood that just because people made mistakes young didn’t mean they were forever doomed to a life of shame.
It made people who needed a comforting shoulder and listening ear flock to me.
Of course, this also hurt me. Many negative people were surrounding and I didn’t know how to set boundaries. My own anxiety and depression became worse because of this, as I became an empath, and I felt lost.
Because no one really knew what I was going through, I turned to one thing. Reading.
I read, wrote and drew. Those were my outlets. My own fear, pain, anxiety and all those other negative emotions were pushed down.
Now I know that this was the wrong thing to do, but that’s all I knew before.
Being the person people turned to allowed me to gain insight on the lives of others. This opened the door for understanding the pain and experiences of those around me, as well as excitement, happiness and successes. All of this knowledge fell into my creative works of drawing and writing.
One of the things I love doing is writing fiction novels. I hope to be a published author one day because when I was struggling, I turned to books. They consumed me and took me away from the life I didn’t understand.
I hope that I can be the getaway for others, too. Whether that be through reading or through speaking.
All of My Experiences Led to Me
These things coupled together to create a quiet listener who had insight of the inner workings of humanity. After a year of college I finally decided that I would be a psychologist.
Discovering why people react and believe the things they do is interesting to me. When I was a child, I thought that one day I’d be giving speeches on how to overcome speech impediments. Now I see myself getting down to personal levels with all sorts of people to help them feel okay and happy again. That’s what my purpose is.
Through hardships, tearful nights and questioning why, I understand that without this I’d never have found a connection to others. I’d never have understood or cared.
The message of this article is that our pasts may differ, but we are never alone in the emotions that come from them. Taking what we believe to be “flaws” and stepping away from them help us realize their purposes. Mine is simple — take what I know to connect with others. To help others heal and grow.
Yours may still be waiting for you to identify it. Take a moment to reflect. What are somethings that interest you that you never would have come across if it weren’t for your perceived flaw?
Flaws on Purpose
My articles have a sole purpose to help my readers grow to love and accept themselves. This world is already harsh as it is, we don’t need criticism from ourselves on top of that. Instead of being cruel to ourselves, we need to realize that we are here to experience life in its full glory. Raining down on ourselves with negativity only breeds pain.
Changing our outlook on how we should treat ourselves doesn’t come easily. It’s something that occurs overtime. Something that needs to be constantly directed and cared for.
When we hurt, we need to accept those feelings. When we are joyous, we need to embrace it. Everything in life is fleeting, so why do we allow ourselves to be our greatest enemy?
The cycle of believing ourselves not to be good enough can end. I spent years believing I wasn’t worth anything because I couldn’t speak. I thought that if I couldn’t speak and be understood, then I had nothing worthwhile to share.
Now I know how untrue that is. There’s so much inside of me just waiting to be shown to the world.
The journey we’re all on is more similar than everyone would like to imagine. We all have goals of the same range. Be happy, successful, abundant… Give or take a few aspects. The hills may be taller or steeper for some, but understanding that we all have a trail to trod helps not only stop criticism of ourselves, but open our hearts to others.
So take this advice. Next time you go to remind yourself of a “flaw,” let yourself laugh. How silly is it that we take ourselves so seriously that we can’t even enjoy our life?
Take the wheel, roll the windows down and breathe.
It’s time to accept every part of yourself. Even those perfect flaws.