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. However, the person receiving these messages may see that trait as part of their identity, and bristle at the idea they should have to change.

Obviously people shouldn't have to change parts of themselves that they don't think are a problem. I think what sometimes happens though is that people 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 parts you feel are positive or harmless, and the parts that actually aren't that great. Keep the good, get rid of the bad.

For example, say someone feels 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 also, if they were honest with themselves, they want to correct that fact that they can be overly choosey about who they hang around with, and that they have a chip on their shoulder about making small talk.

Or say someone gets a hard time for belong to a certain subculture. They may break it down into:

Occupying this middle ground requires having the confidence to stick with the parts of yourself that 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 it.