...know your imperfections, and also to be able to identify the conditions for their display, before they erupt.

Know Your Imperfections – You’ll Be Dragging Them With You Through Life

dog on a leash with barred teeth ready to fight another dog over a ball
This scene shows context, situation, and negative emotion…a recipe for disaster

# 6 on my, 99 Life Tips – A List is: Know your imperfections – You won’t get over them or get past them, you’ll drag them with you through life. You must learn where they live and what brings them out of the dark.

TF does this mean, you may be asking yourself? Lemme explain. I often hear people struggling to overcome some negative trait or other, say they are hoping, ”to get over it”. There exists a belief, or maybe a wish, that it is possible to outgrow or forever overcome character flaws. Yet, the contrary is true. We rarely, if ever, get over, or get past, our imperfections. The imperfections are ours. They lurk beneath the surface (hopefully), but provided the right (wrong) context and a trigger, the imperfection(s) will bust out. This makes it imperative to know your imperfections, and also to be able to identify the conditions for their display, before they erupt.

To me, it is helpful to think of my most egregious character deficiencies as susceptibilities. It is helpful to me to realize that I am capable of all the acts and words that live in my life’s junk drawer of shame. I’ve already proven my ability to do each of them, after all. Thus, I have stopped making promises about whether or not one of them may fall out of the drawer into a life scene, ready for public consumption. I believe in the reality of toxic behavioral patterns. To short circuit the behavior, I have to spot the pattern that triggers it.

Think with me. Humans are capable of committing personal atrocities on an almost unimaginably vast scale, from drunkenness to adultery to drug abuse to 9-11. You and I may have never committed the most gruesome or detrimental deeds, but whatever disgraceful and disturbing commissions you have personally produced could come back at any time the conditions are ripe and your inner awareness and security system is lax. 

Because We All Have A Past…And We Want To Leave It There

I have done a lot of bad stuff in earlier chapters of my life. And I live with the knowledge that the context and the opportunity I found myself in at those earlier times created the perfect recipe for their manifestations. Should the same conditions and opportunities arise, I would be foolish to think I couldn’t do the same things again, or worse. Of course I could.

And so could you. Especially so in the face of negative emotions. Each of us develops patterned responses to negative emotions. We build defense mechanisms. Some will have a pattern of attack, others a pattern of run away. The attackers group may become angry, abusive, hateful, and aggressive, The runners may drink, drug, or distract themselves with other potentially harmful efforts to feel something other than the negative feelings they are dealing with. The runners may end up in someone else’s arms for instance, or overdraft their checking accounts. The attackers may end up in jail on assault charges. 

These examples illustrate extremes to a purpose. Which is, your patterns of response are unique to you. They are deeply ingrained. You will likely never, ”get past them”. The important thing is to know your imperfections, realize and know you won’t get over them, and become acutely aware of the first sign of the emotional signals that if unattended, might provide a trigger for your worst self to burst forth. 

This form of internal situational awareness will be far more effective and therefore more beneficial to you than any efforts spent deluding yourself that you can overcome those deeply ingrained patterns. Better to realize that there is a ferocious attack dog lurking inside you. Be ready with the leash at the first sign of stirring.

We’re all capable of every bad thing you can think of given the opportunity and the context. Be watchful therefore, and aware of the particular context (both emotional and situational) that wakes up your inner demons. This is what it means to know your imperfections.

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  1. Pingback: 99 Life Tips – A List : Greg Proffit Writing

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