I’ve kind of gotten in the semi-habit of highlighting books that have impacted my life. I call them my “tattered covers” books, though some are more heavily highlighted than tattered. Not sure why some hold up better than others, but the answer isn’t relevant to this blog post.
Today I’d like to direct your attention to a small, but powerful book called Flawless! The Ten Most Common Character Flaws and What You Can Do About Them by Louis A. Tartaglia, M.D. I found this book in 1999, not long after it released.
Dr. Tartaglia begins this small volume by pointing out that we all have character flaws. Yes, there’s a (humbling) test, because of course I didn’t think I possessed any of them! Flaws? Me? I know I’m not perfect, but actual, large flaws? You must be thinking of another Pauline.
I have this highlighted in my copy: The common perception that good people have fewer flaws is wrong. It is not a matter of more or fewer flaws. It is the willingness to change them. He goes on to write that “…having character flaws is very human. Doing nothing about them is tragic.”
What are these ten flaws? I’m glad you asked:
1. Addicted to Being Right
2. Raging Indignation
3. Fixing Blame and Nurturing Resentment
4. The Dread Seekers–Worry and Fear
6. The Poor Me or Martyr Syndrome
7. Self Regard Run Riot
8. The Excuse for Everything–Inadequacy
9. Hypercritical Fault Finders
10. Chronic Dishonesty–The Trap
A quote from Tartaglia that I have used in motivational talks: Changing what you can is the courageous thing to do and life needs to be lived courageously.
One thing that is particularly helpful about this book, he gives tactics on how to affect change in our own flaws and how to manage living with others’ flaws. (One of my mantras of life is to look at what others do–that tells what they believe much more clearly than what someone says.)
This is not a comfortable read, particularly after taking his test at the beginning! But if you’d rather be happy, then I highly recommend it. And to show my thanks, anyone who comments on a blog post in the month of May will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift card from AnaBanana’s Bath & Body Treats.
Pauline Baird Jones is still flawed, but she’d like to think she’s made some improvement since reading this book. You can find out more about her (but not her flaws) at www.paulinebjones.com She’s happy, however, to expose her characters’ flaws in her 12 novels.