For Any Trait Keep The Good Parts And Toss The Bad
People sometimes get the message that a certain trait of theirs is bad and that they should work to get rid of it. They may see it as part of their identity, and bristle at the idea they should have to change.
Obviously people shouldn't feel forced to change facets of themselves that they don't think are a problem. I think what sometimes happens though is that somone will think of various traits in All-or-Nothing terms. They'll feel they either have to change 100%, and sell out and conform in the process, or not change at all and be totally true to themselves.
In my experience it works better to be more in the middle. For any trait you have, take a look at it and break it down into the pieces you feel are positive or harmless, and the parts that actually aren't that great, if there are any. Keep the good bits, get rid of the bad.
For example, say someone knows they're "quiet". They may decide that there really isn't anything wrong with sitting back and not talking at times. So they'll leave that aspect untouched. However, they may conclude that sometimes their quietness involves not being able to think of things to say, or getting overwhelmed and paralyzed in really rowdy conversations. They may choose to work on that.
Another example would be if someone likes spending lots of time alone and generally isn't super drawn to the social world. They may look at what that means for them personally, and decide it's okay to want private time. But if they're honest with themselves, they also want to correct the fact that they can be overly-choosey about who they hang around, and that they get drained too quickly when they do have company.
Or say someone gets a hard time for belonging to a certain subculture. They may break it down into:
- Things about being in that group that are good (Keep)
- Aspects of the subculture your average person would think of as a problem, but that's because they don't get it (Keep that stuff too)
- Features of the subculture that really can be negative and unhealthy (Stop, if they're doing any of those things)
Occupying this middle ground requires having the confidence to stick with the parts of yourself you think are fine, and not cave to outside pressure. But it also involves being open-minded enough to consider people's criticism and decide if any of it has a point or not, and if you think it does, to be willing to follow through on making changes.