Lately, I’ve been thinking about the concept of human “flaws”, usually used to describe some sort of fixed “crack” in an individual that expresses itself through unwanted behavior.
The problem with this perspective is that it assumes that the gap between our present self and our ideal self is permanent. It forces us to accept those “imperfections” as inherent to our personality.
I don’t want to discuss semantics in this post, but to offer a more positive definition of how that gap was formed, and how to make it smaller. Why? Because I believe that this positivity is not only more helpful, but also more accurate and closer to reality. So here it is:
What we typically call flaws, are in fact limits that arise from a combination of experiences, knowledge and genetics. These limits can be expanded with an increase of experiences and/or knowledge. Genetic limitations are inherent to all humans, and mostly similar across mankind.
That’s it. Anything can be changed with more of the first two elements. Genes are more deep-rooted so they are better left alone, or to evolution.
What I like the most about this definition, is that it vanishes concepts like stupidity, laziness or cruelty. Sure, these are unwanted traits on a person, but it’s much easier to transform them once we embrace new information, whether through experience or erudition. Most of all, it supports comprehension instead of judgment. It pushes us to increase our own intellectual efforts to expand our understanding of the world, instead of commanding others to fit in our limitations.
Finally, it lets us give ourselves a break. When do something “the wrong way”, this perspective helps us cope with it, while at the same time motivates us to improve ourselves. Since our “flaw” is no longer a rigid part of our personality, then there’s nothing other than some learning preventing us from making it better.