I first discovered the Fatal Flaw fifteen years ago. I was running a therapy group for women with depression which was going very well. Each week, the members were sharing more and more personal information with each other. One woman shared that deep down she believed that she was an unlikeable person. Another said that she felt that everyone else is smarter than she. A third told the group that no matter who she was with, she felt excluded. One by one as the weeks went by, the women revealed these deeply held, painful, secret beliefs.
As each secret belief emerged, the groupís reaction was one of shock and disbelief. Interestingly, not one of these imagined failings appeared to the group to have any validity at all. Together, the women gave a name to their shared malady. They called it ďThe Fatal Flaw.Ē
Since that time I have discovered that the Fatal Flaw is remarkably common. Itís not just women; men have it too. For men, it might be, ďIím weak,Ē ďIíll never be successful,Ē or ďwomen arenít attracted to me.Ē
Typically the Fatal Flaw is so deeply buried in a personís sense of self that she doesnít even realize itís there. Itís actually more of a feeling than a thought. In fact, many have to struggle to put words to it. Yet it has an intensity that can have a significant influence on a personís life.
For example, if your personal reality is a feeling of being unlikeable, it may prevent you from pursuing friendships or activities. It may cause you to expect rejection around every corner. It may make you hold back in your relationships with people. If you secretly feel that everyone else is smarter, you may hesitate to speak your mind. You may hold back your opinions. You may avoid intellectually challenging opportunities that would offer you opportunities to learn and grow.
Here are some Tips For Taking on Your Fatal Flaw:
1. Although the Fatal Flaw feels real, it is actually not a real flaw. Itís just a feeling.
2. Your Fatal Flaw is rooted in your childhood. It probably had more to do with the people around you in your childhood than it did with you. As a child, you automatically absorbed it, as children do. As an adult, you now have a responsibility to yourself to consider and process it as an adult.
3. Feelings such as this have far more power when they are buried. Becoming aware of your Fatal Flaw and naming it are the first steps to reducing its power.
4. After you discover and name it, it is vital to start testing it. Try doing the exact opposite of what the Fatal Flaw would have you do: Speak up in a meeting; ask someone to meet for coffee; put yourself up for promotion. Each time you take an action that is opposite to your Fatal Flaw, you are breaking it down, bit by bit.
5. Tell a trusted person about your Fatal Flaw. When the women in the group heard the reactions of the other members to their Fatal Flaws, it helped them to see how truly inaccurate they were.
Donít let a false feeling from childhood hold you back and interfere with your relationships, happiness and growth. Dig it out and expose it to the light of day. Break it down, bit by bit. You will soon see that your life will be better without it.