Turn Your Character Flaws into Assets!

After solving my drinking problem, I was amazed to find equally damaging aspects within my own personality–low self-esteem, jealousy, perfectionism, and constant anxiety. 

I now think of these “character flaws” as survival strategies that helped me cope in the past, but no longer serve me in the present. For example, standing up for my own needs often brought on ridicule at home, so I became a people-pleaser and pretended everything was fine. Now, many years later, I no longer need to suppress my needs because I’ve learned to be honest and assertive in my relationships. 

To change this old, damaging pattern, I needed to discover the motivators underlying it: where had I been fearful, dishonest, resentful, or selfish? Often these motivators showed up in my self-talk as whispered lies. For instance, my fear might whisper, “Don’t speak up; if you do, he’ll get angry and leave.”  Dishonesty also played its part by denying my unpleasant feelings. (For more on Whispered Lies, see my book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now – amzn.to/2RMx5m5). 

When I used therapy, the 12 steps, and other practices to dissolve my fears and dishonesty, I gained positive self-talk (Whispered Truths) such as, “I have the right to ask for what I desire.” As a result, my happiness and relationships benefited from my assertiveness and honesty.

Here I illustrate how each motivator (Fear, Dishonesty, Resentment, Selfishness) spawns whispered lies, character flaws, and negative consequences. But the story doesn’t end there! After choosing to let go of these patterns and humbly asking God to remove them, we find the healing of internal whispered truths and many benefits.

FEAR UNHEALED

  • Whispered Lies: “If I create conflict or speak up, people will leave me.”  “I must perform well to be loved.” “If I make a mistake, I’ll be abandoned.” 
  • Character Flaws: People-pleasing, Perfectionism, Fear of failure, Laziness, Doubt
  • Consequences: Victim mentality, Blaming others, Anxiety, Procrastination, Giving up

FEAR HEALED

  • Whispered Truths: “I have a right to ask for what I desire.” “I can be imperfect and still be worthy of love.” “My high standards improve my work when I also take good care of myself.”
  • Benefits: Assertiveness, Improved relationships, Courage, Serenity, Trust, Faith

DISHONESTY UNHEALED

  • Whispered Lies: “I have to be who people want me to be.” “If I can figure this out, I can keep my loved ones safe.” “I can’t be happy unless things change.”
  • Character Flaws: Codependency; Needing to control people, places, and things; Self-justification 
  • Consequences: Failed relationships, Trying to change others, Overthinking, Obsessing about the future, Lack of self-care, Anxiety, Denial of powerlessness

DISHONESTY HEALED

  • Whispered Truths: “I find the courage to take good care of myself.” “My higher power is in charge of my own and my loved ones’ security.” “I can’t change people, places or things, but I CAN change how I think and act.” “This is God’s job, not mine.” 
  • Benefits: Loving others with honesty, Moderation, Acceptance, Resiliency

RESENTMENT UNHEALED

  • Whispered Lies: “Nothing works out for me.” “Screw life!” “I’m not getting what I deserve.” “I hate him/her/it!”
  • Character Flaws: Negativity, Self-Pity, Intolerance, Impatience, Envy
  • Consequences: Gossip, Depression, Defensive in friendships, Distrust love, Anger 

RESENTMENT HEALED

  • Whispered Truths: “I have everything I need as God wills.” “Everything is in perfect order; I just can’t see it right now.” “This person is troubled just as I am; I see us both with compassion.” “All is well.”
  • Benefits: Acceptance, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Self-care, Humility (seeking God’s will), Generosity

SELFISHNESS UNHEALED

  • Whispered Lies: “She’s better than I am, so she’ll get all the attention I need.” “I’m better at this than she is, so I’m more worthy than she is.” “I must have this NOW!”
  • Character Flaws: Pride, Greed, Self-criticism, Judging others, Suspicion
  • Consequences: Relationship difficulties, Withholding love, Non-communication, Stress/anxiety, Rigid expectations of others (and of ourselves). 

SELFISHNESS HEALED

  • Whispered Truths: “I am an equal among equals.” “We’re all loved and loveable.” “We all share flaws; that’s okay.”
  • Benefits: Happy relationships, Generosity, Consideration of others, Acceptance 

*Note that each of the four motivators shows up to some extent in almost every flaw listed

HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH THESE IDEAS? I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer has been sober 35 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat Murphy.

Worry Less Now Cover

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now, describes how to reject the faulty thinking leading to addiction, dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, and worry about loved ones. Check out the practical directions, personal stories, and other helpful growth tools. Amazon: 4.8 stars (Buy Discounted Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)

THE GOD IDEA: A DEAL-BREAKER FOR RECOVERY?

Light as the God idea.

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t stand the Christian-sounding language (the “God idea”) at my first 12-step meetings.

But, with few other options for getting sober in 1986, I kept coming back. Most important, I held on to the flexibility offered by the words, “as we understood God.”  

In those first months, I began to wonder if this mysterious “higher power” had something to do with the joy and freedom of my new sober friends. Also, I tried not to judge any language that smacked of organized religion. After all, who was I to condemn this God idea, when I had screwed up my own life so royally?

Something Greater than Myself

Then I read this passage:  “Deep down in every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God. . . For faith in a power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.”
(p. 55, Alcoholics Anonymous)

Up to this point, I had put my faith in the power of high grades and romance to make me happy. But nothing had worked. In fact, I was facing my third divorce! Perhaps something greater than myself could help me out of my misery.

The most user-friendly name I can give the God idea is “positive power;” but we each find many different ways to experience it.

Positive Power as Mother, Master Mind, Love, and Light

After a year of meetings, working the steps, and therapy, I figured something was helping me stay sober. My new friends called it “God.” But, at that point, I couldn’t imagine love coming from a traditional male God. Instead, I felt most comforted by the caring “mother-power” of the women at the meetings. 

But that was only my initial image. Soon, I went to a Unity church in Warren MI led by Jack Boland, a minister in recovery who led a group that referred to the God idea as the “Master Mind.” Using his eight-step process we each made requests, and each day we affirmed them for one another.

After several weekly sessions, I could not believe the “miraculous demonstrations” I witnessed! For one, I had met a man who was healthy and fun, and instead of instantly merging my life with his, I was living alone (for the first time ever!) and taking it really slowly. (Today we’ve been married 32 years! Now, that’s some positive power, aye?)

Soon after this, my sponsor began a Course in Miracles group for sober women. As we studied the lessons, I saw the God idea expressed as love, peace, and connection. But the image I found most convincing was of a “light” within each of us:

“The light is in [you] now. .  .It is the only thing you bring with you from your. . .Source. The light cannot be lost. [It] is shining in you now, and from your heart extends around the world. . .The light within you is sufficient.” (Lesson 188, A Course in Miracles)  

As I discovered this light within myself, I began to see it in others. For example, when a woman walks into a 12-step meeting, I can instantly see the her shining light leading her to a happy, healthy life.

What’s Your Image of Positive Power (a God Idea)?


My images and experiences of positive power continue to evolve, and I’m relieved that I don’t need to define it or understand exactly how it works. I just know that when I let this power into my mind and heart, amazing things happen!

Perhaps you, too, have found a power that works for you, even if it doesn’t conform to a religious standard. ** I’D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT! ** (Click HERE or email me at glanger2202@gmail.com; or comment on this post in FB, TW, or Instagram.

As we share our experiences, I hope fewer people reject the 12 steps because of their use of the God idea. May we each find a positive power that works for our recovery and happiness!

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer has been sober 35 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat Murphy.

Worry Less Now Cover

Gigi’s award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now describes how to reject the negative thinking leading to addiction, dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, and worry about loved ones. Check out the practical directions, personal stories, and other helpful suggestions. Amazon: 4.8 stars (Buy Discounted Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)

REFRAMING THE LORD’S PRAYER

I just couldn’t wait to send you this new article about the Lord’s Prayer, hot off the (digital) “presses.”


I hope you find it of interest, and perhaps worth sharing.

The next monthly newsletter (or blog) is coming mid-July, as promised.  (-:

Ack! They’re Saying The Lord’s Prayer!?!

Did you ever sit in a church or a 12-step meeting and cringe while they recited the Lord’s Prayer? I sure did! I wasn’t too sure of the wording, nor was I one-hundred percent willing to believe it. 

After a few months of blindly repeating the prayer (I wanted to fit in, after all!), I found this helpful explanation from Unity church, and it still makes a lot of sense to me. Maybe it will appeal to you. Or not. Check it out.

PS. At the end of the article, I’ve included the link to the entire chapter on the Lord’s Prayer from Emmet Fox’s classic, The Sermon on the Mount. It’s worth reading!
With love from Gigi 

The Lord’s Prayer (Unity Church of Ann Arbor)

Our Father who art in heaven: We are now yet more aware of your infinite and eternal presence, in whom we live and with which we think and create.
Hallowed be thy name: Your presence in us is whole and complete. It is the activity of health that heals, of intelligence that inspires, of substance that prospers, and of love that harmonizes. Your name—your nature—is perfection itself and truly worthy of our complete devotion. So, your name is hallowed.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven: We are your glorious possibility. We now let your perfect idea of us unfold in us and through us. Our desire for betterment is your desire to perfect that which you are expressing as us, as we let you have your way. We see ourselves doing that which you see us as being. We will to will thy will, and your heavenly kingdom is come—right here and now. Thank you, God.
Give us this day our daily bread: We really have no existence outside of your presence, for we are your presence expressing as us. Therefore, we can never be separated from the all-sufficient substance of your opulent universe. We now claim our divine inheritance, and perpetually manifest your abundant supply. So, you do give us now—this day—our daily bread. Thank, you, God.
Forgive us our debts (sins*) as we forgive our debtors (those who sin against us*): Your presence in us is our potential for dissolving all conflict or resentment. Your presence is Love, and it loves in us and through us as we forgive. It releases us as we loose and let go of all limited thoughts about ourselves or about those who seem like others. Yet we know that we are truly one in Spirit, so we forgive, and we are forgiven. Thank you, God.
Leave us not in temptation (Save us from the time of trial, and*) deliver us from evil (ego): Your presence in us is our light and our deliverance. There is no darkness in light, and there can be no darkness in us, as we are established in spiritual unity with your indwelling presence, which is “better than light and safer than a known way.” You do not leave us in temptation, but you do guide us through seeming trial. Thank you, God.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever: In all that we seek to be or do or have, we realize that only in your presence is our power to think, our very thought of aspiration. Your will is our will to commence. Your strength is our strength to continue. Your power is our power to achieve. And the glory of all our accomplishments belongs to You. Thank you, God.
Amen: This is the truth. It is done.
* Material with asterisk and in parentheses comes from the 1988 translation of the ecumenical English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC)

Emmet Fox’s Interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer


Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer has been sober 35 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat Murphy.

Worry Less Now Cover

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now which describes how to reject the faulty thinking leading to addiction, dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, and worry about loved ones. Check out the practical directions, personal stories, and other helpful suggestions. Amazon: 4.8 stars (Buy Discounted Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)

Find A Power Greater Than Your Fears

How many of us wish, “If only I had the power to make things turn out the way I want them to!

Let’s take a minute to look closely at these illusions of will and power. How well has trying to control others worked for you? Do you believe you can impose the changes you’d like to see on the world? Perhaps you’ve even struggled unsuccessfully to change your own fears and habits.

When you can admit that your unaided efforts to improve your own and others’ lives almost always fail, a wondrous alternative appears: You can trust a positive power to help you find peace and courage, no matter what’s going on in your life.

What Is Positive Power?

If you’re skeptical about what many call a “higher power,” let me assure you: You don’t need to worship a particular spiritual entity, religion, dogma, or philosophy. You’ll be defining this source in a way that works for you. You can be as unconventional or traditional as you want–as long as you tap into something greater than your fears.

How you come to understand this power is highly personal and your business only. You may find it in your mind, spirit, energy, or in the universe. Perhaps you’ll discover it through the hope and strength of supportive, healthy people. (However, consider carefully what they say and how they live their lives. Then take what works for you and leave the rest behind.)

How Can A Positive Power Help Me?

How can you put your positive power to work in your life? By making one single decision again and again: Reject your fear-filled thoughts and connect with your source of power. As you continue making this choice, you’ll discover a happy outlook and intuitive guidance for your problems.

Studies reported by Stephanie Castillo reveal that believers in such a power are happier than those who don’t believe. Cultivating loving thoughts, good feelings, and positive experiences reprograms your persistent, negative thinking. In the words of author Emmet Fox, “You cannot think one thing and produce another.”

Try it now

Memorize a prayer or affirmation and say it often, mindfully savor the beauty around you, try guided meditation, listen to inspiring speakers, join with positive people for fun and growth, say a kind word to a stranger or friend, list five things you’re grateful for each day, write in a journal, pray for those you resent, and/or practice loving self-compassion.

A Few Reminders about A “Higher Power”

  • You don’t need to intellectually understand a positive power for it to work for you
  • Fear and judgment keep you upset and alone; a loving power overcomes your fear and connects you with others.
  • With consistent practice and pleasing results, you’ll come to trust your positive power to bring you peace and happiness, no matter what is going on in your life.
Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer has been sober 35 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat Murphy.

Worry Less Now Cover

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now which describes how to reject the faulty thinking leading to addiction, dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, and worry about loved ones. Check out the practical directions, personal stories, and other helpful suggestions. Amazon: 4.8 stars (Buy Discounted Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)