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)

How to Curb Our Selfish Motives

worry less now Gigi Langer

Selfish thinking wrecks our relationships, health, and life success. This destructive force sounds like this:

  • What can I get out of this?
  • How can I hold on to what I have?
  • What can I accomplish so I can look good? Why can’t those other people behave so I can relax?
  • How can I avoid pain and suffering?

THE COST OF SELF-WILL

Ironically, most pain and suffering is caused by living from selfish motivations. As long as our dishonesty and inconsideration are in the driver’s seat, we have little chance of happiness or peace of mind. In my experience, we gain love and success when we ask a power greater than our selfishness to guide us, and then consistently practice rejecting self-centered thinking.

If that seems far-fetched, let’s consider how well your life works when guided by your own self-centered thoughts and feelings. In my case, I could not get relationships to work because I was seeking only to fulfill my own emotional and romantic needs. I only got good grades and degrees to gain respect and admiration from others. Such purely selfish motives resulted only in disillusion, bitterness, alcohol abuse, promiscuity, extreme stress, and chronic pain.

But all that changed once I got honest, found a higher power, and chose to make my life better through consistent practices and healthy tools.

HONESTY

It takes a healthy amount of self-honesty to take responsibility for the failures in our lives. Unfortunately, our selfish mind tells us it’s all everyone else’s fault. It loves to play the role of the victim. Makes sense, right? If I didn’t make the bad things happen, then I don’t have to do anything different!

Perhaps all personal and spiritual growth begins with admitting that our way of doing things is not working. Noone is forcing us to overwork, overeat, lie, or blast anger at a loved one. These reactions are driven by the delusion that I deserve better than what I’m getting.

I must say that honestly owning our own attitudes, judgments, and actions takes courage and often requires the support of healthy friends or a professional. Further, it’s hard to get honest when we’re using drugs, booze, shopping, food, overwork, or other ways to numb our feelings.

POWER

Once we realize our own efforts are only bringing us unhappiness, we are left with one choice: to find a power greater than our own failings to guide us. We may find it within us, outside us, or all around us. It doesn’t matter what you call it—God, higher power, universe, love, inner-guide, true self, nature, etc.–this power can dissolve the fearful self’s messages. But, this requires commitment and practice.

CHOICE & PRACTICE

Unfortunately, one decision to trust a loving power doesn’t put things right. Each day–and sometimes each minute–we can choose to reject our selfish behavior by visualizing how we want to be in the future. And then we practice keeping our mind away from limited thinking.

In my case, I ask a higher power to give me courage, compassion, and grace in all my interactions. I also ask for specifics, for example, a successful new “Worry Less Now” video course. I always leave a little “wiggle room” for a higher magic by adding “in the best way for all.” We don’t have to plot each step toward our desired goal; we just have to keep affirming that it is coming to us in its own time and in way. But we need to be on guard for dishonesty and self-centered fear.

Only regular practice can replace the chatter of self-will with loving wisdom and care. To open the channel to our source, we might use meditation, energy work, cognitive reframing, prayer, acts of kindness, forgiveness visualizations, guided meditations, or groups studying inspiring texts (e.g., The Four Agreements, The Power of Now, Course in Miracles, Bible, etc.) Any practice that connects us with a positive power can overcome our self-centered, demanding, and critical thoughts and actions.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO OVERCOME SELF-CENTERED THINKING? We’d love to hear from you.

For more specific practices that reduce selfish, negative thinking, please see my book and blog at GigiLanger.com.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 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 Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

In Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews. Amazon rating: 4.8 stars.

Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.

Cross Out The “I” of Ego’s Self-Will

worry less now gigi langer

I recently heard this spiritual message: We need to cast into the “sea of forgetfulness” the ego’s creations of self loathing, hatred, and missteps—because none of these represents the goodness of our true nature.

The Sea of Forgetfulness

It’s similar to A Course in Miracles: Nothing is real except love, the perfect truth of God’s creation. When we cast into the sea of forgetfulness our ego’s self-centered fear,  dishonesty, worry, and judging of others, we’ve claimed the miracle of Love.

For those of us recovering from addictions, these figments of self-will (especially resentments) threaten the fine balance of our spiritual fitness and, thus, our sobriety.

Unfortunately, when we let self-centered fear drive our decisions, we’ve elevated our ego, the almighty “I,” to the role of God–a sure recipe for disaster.

Crossing Out The “I” of Ego

Pondering the ego’s fixation on “me, myself, and I” reminds me of these words from a priest in Rumer Godden’s lovely book, In This House of Brede,

“The cross is ‘I’ crossed out.”

In this phrase, the cross-bar of God’s loving power “crosses out” the upright post of the “I” —all that is not love. As a result, we become generous and true to our highest self.

Do you want to live from this true source of love? Then work on rejecting the demands of the “I” for more security, more prestige, and more power. Instead, try molding your thoughts and dreams to the eternal truth of God’s will: goodness for all.

Pray, study spiritual teachings, meditate, help others—in short, become less focused on the “I” of your own self-seeking ego. You won’t believe the transformation in your life, creativity, and relationships,

In Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews: Amazon 4.8 stars.

Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 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 Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

PTSD RECOVERY and GROWING THROUGH COVID: Two Fascinating Podcasts (and I’m on both of them!)

worry less now Gigi Langer

As you know by now, I’ve been a guest on several podcasts, and I love it!

Aside from connecting with such awesome folks, I can stay in my pajamas because there’s no video!. 

I think you’ll be fascinated by each of them.

How Are We Growing through COVID? “Meet Me in The Field” Podcast with Freddie Van Rensburg

I met Freddie on Twitter and we immediately hit it off in our first interview about our recovery and Worry Less Now (Listen to it here).

Recently, he talked with four of us about how our spiritual practices have helped us during the COVID epidemic. You’ll love listening to Frank’s Christ-centered approach, Raymond’s insights and speaking career, and how Brad was saved from a disastrous decision about his fitness business.

It’s a fascinating group, all led by Freddie’s infectious humor and wisdom. Thank you, Freddie for creating this wonderful podcast!  Learn more about Freddie’s fabulous books, blog, and addiction counseling at freddie.org.za/ Twitter: @RensburgFreddie

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE https://www.freddie.org.za/mmitf/2020/05/28/the-religious-view.html

Overcoming Anxiety and Childhood Trauma “PTSD And Beyond” Podcast with Dr. Deb Lindh

I loved getting to know Dr. Deb, as we discovered that we both were at Eastern Michigan University, but not at the same time! Then we shared about growing out of the childhood trauma.

In our one-on-one interview, we discussed the characteristics of adults from dysfunctional families, and how substance abuse, codependency, and sexual compulsions manifest in people with PTSD. Finally, we explored our favorite tools for healing old wounds so we can make healthier choices in our lives.

Much thanks to Deb for this great podcast! Learn more about Dr. Deb’s PTSD coaching, workshops, online support chats, and her bestselling book (with Brian Tracy) on healing stress at drdeblindh.com/ Twitter: @PTSDandBeyond

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE on podbean OR HERE on apple podcast

Gigi Langer security

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 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 Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

Worry Less Now Cover

In Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews: Amazon 4.8 stars.

Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.