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HomeIssues2019 Winter EditionYour Weaknesses Do Not Define You

Your Weaknesses Do Not Define You


We all have areas of weakness – parts of ourselves that we want to improve, or aspects we wish were different. This is part of being human. By nature, we are all imperfect. Even when we are working hard to improve ourselves, we will inevitably make mistakes.

When you are unhappy with something about yourself, or something you have said or done, try one or more of the following:

  • Remind yourself that this one moment, one aspect of yourself, one thing you have said or done, does not define you in your entirety. You are a multidimensional person with a great deal of other attributes. You are not your weaknesses!
  • Ask yourself what this incident tells you about yourself— what motivates or drives you?
  • Remind yourself that such moments are necessary for self-growth and learning opportunities.
  • Be compassionate and kind to yourself. Be sure your self-talk is as kind and compassionate as how you would speak to a loved one (e.g. child, friend or partner).
  • Remind yourself that everyone is imperfect, and you are not an exception.
  • Try a mindfulness meditation: focusing on your breath, close your eyes and take a long slow breath in, imagining you are breathing in all of the suffering of others with a similar challenge, and then exhale slowly, imagining you are breathing out healing, love, and compassion for them and yourself. Repeat at least three times.
  • Accept your weaknesses, they are part of you, they do not define you, you are okay as you are. Once you have accepted your weaknesses, if relevant, spend some time problem solving how to reduce their impact on your life. (This is different from trying to fix or remove your weaknesses; it is finding a path around them instead, so you can still reach your destination.) Then, turn your focus towards your strengths.

When you accept yourself as you are and acknowledge your weaknesses, you are in a much better position to cope with whatever life sends your way. Accepting yourself and your weaknesses will allow you to see yourself more fully, as a multidimensional person. Doing so will:

  • Allow you to be kinder to yourself.
  • Increase your compassion for others despite their imperfections.
  • Help you to make life choices that are consistent with who you are, which will improve your overall comfort and happiness in life.
  • Help you choose relationships with people who are compatible.
  • Make you more aware of situations that make you vulnerable to being unhappy.
  • Improve your self-awareness and self-understanding, leading to increased clarity regarding life’s decisions.

See our website for the complete article which includes an age appropriate way to teach these concepts to younger children.

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Dr. Sherry Van Blyderveen
Dr. Sherry Van Blyderveen
Clinical & Counselling Psychologist Dr. Van Blyderveen provides services for children, youth, adults, couples and families. Her main interests include the use of Emotion Focused Therapy for couples and families, the treatment of eating disorders, and the use of Cognitive Processing Therapy for posttraumatic stress. Dr. Van Blyderveen received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Simon Fraser University. She is an Assistant Professor (part-time) in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. Her previous experiences include a variety of hospital, community mental health, private practice and correctional settings, including over seven years with the Pediatric Eating Disorders Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Web:

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