When your worst trait becomes your best gift
We all have one. That part of our personality that people tell us needs improvement, is holding us back or will keep us from ever finding true love. We might even be ashamed of it. But it can become your best gift.
As a teen and young adult, mine was easy:
I was too critical.
I was the girl who would say what everyone was thinking (but would never say out loud).
I loved to argue and debate (as long as I won).
I made jokes, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes at others’ expense.
I was always happy to share my opinion on any given topic, from why the Disney version of Pocahontas was sexist to the ills of underage drinking. I’m sure plenty of people avoided me so they didn’t have to hear me rant and rave. My brother eventually refused to watch TV with me because I’d take issue with every ad or commercial that came on. At a party, my best guy friend would bring up a particular topic just to “get me going.”
I was sarcastic. In a world of “sweet little Southern girls,” it had a certain amount of edge that guys thought was either unbecoming or adorable.
I gave candid advice freely to guys and gals alike on why they were doing the relationship thing wrong.
I’m sure some of my girlfriends were mortified by what came out of my mouth.
At the time, a lot of those behaviors came from a bad place. A place where I was trying to look smart, avoid criticism and keep my defenses up.
You know the bit about the insecure kid being the funniest.
Some if it was exhibiting leadership qualities. Some of it was self preservation.
I love learning about personality types and in the years since, I’ve discovered that I am a Meyer’s Briggs INFJ “The Advocate”.
As an INFJ, I am a ‘Diplomat,’ (the NF) with “an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying Judging (J) trait – INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.”
Judging is how I’m wired.
Part of what makes me unique is that I see potential everywhere. I can also spot things that are out of place from a football field’s distance.
When the speaker at an event is wearing the wrong shade of lipstick, I’m totally distracted during her entire talk.
When a friend is denying her gift of teaching, I have to restrain myself from signing her up to teach a class.
When I enter an event space, I can feel whether the seating and arrangement of the room is correct or if things are out of place.
Sometimes I wish I could turn it off but I cannot close my critical eye.
You would be dumbfounded to know my opinions on parenting and the mistakes I see parents making. I should win an award for all the fights I keep my dog out of.
Yes, I’m judging you. I am looking for what I want to emulate and what I want to avoid. You do it, too, mine just might be a little more…intentional.
Being critical can be a gift or a curse and that’s the thing about your best gift: it is often born from your worst trait.
That thing you wish you could change about yourself? The character trait people see as a weakness or detriment? God can use it for good.
I could post my big fat opinions all over social media or I could encourage people to live UP to their potentail. I choose the latter.
I see what women are wearing that doesn’t suit them.
I edit everything from wardrobes to press releases.
I tell people I see the potential in them.
Instead of criticizing (meaning “to bring down”) I now lift others up.
It comes from the same place–one is just rebellious and self-centered.
Wielded graciously, my penchant for criticism has become a gift of encouragement.
God can do that for you, too.
Do you know what your best gift is?