Character Defect… or Hidden Gift?

As human beings, we have a tendency, perhaps a convenient necessity, to label, categorize and identify pretty much everything. We even do this with our “Character”. We label parts of it as good or bad, strengths or weaknesses, and assets or defects. This is valuable in helping us identify parts of our character make-up that either hinder us, or empower us.

Often though, we perhaps use a perception of what “Wholeness”, “Healthy”, or “Spiritual” looks like, based upon somebody else’s concepts. We all form mental representations of these qualities based upon what teachings, or teachers have influenced us. This can be helpful in guiding us along our own individual Path, but the danger arises when we try to emulate someone else’s journey, and worse… attempt to be that person. Instead of embracing our unique individuality, we attempt to conform to an illusory image.

I spent a couple weeks reading about Elisabeth Kubler Ross. She was fascinating in many ways, yet what really stood out about her, were her apparent “imperfections”. 

She was, by her own admission and others’ opinions of her; stubborn, at times resentful, obstinately willful, workaholic, caffeine/nicotine/and chocolate addicted, driven, etc. Point being, as she stated, “So what. I am who I am.” She not only came to a place of self-acceptance about the collage of characteristics that formed her personality, she was able to use them to accomplish an amazing lifetime of achievements. Mainly due to the fact, that what motivated her, was compassion and love. 

Despite whatever outer appearances our character takes, if underneath it all unconditional love is at the core, well… everything else is all merely window dressing anyway. Truth is, all of us are many different people, many times during a day. It’s all the various ‘flavours’ of our Being that create the Whole of who we are.

The Tao te Ching states it simply, “ One who sees themselves as everything, is fit to be guardian of the world. One who loves themselves as everyone, is fit to be teacher of the world.”

Too often instead of getting on with our lives as we are, we can get bogged down chasing that elusive state of “perfection”, the ideal standard created by someone else. Frustratingly we try to fit into a mold rather than creating our own unique design. Hence, we strive to rid ourselves of parts that were never intended to be eliminated. Eckhart Tolle is always saying there’s nothing the Ego likes more than “Time”, the old game “when I get this”, or “when I’m able to,” or “after that is fixed”. Perhaps our biggest Shadow is the one that prevents us from realising we are perfect just the way we are today, in this moment.

Paradox and balance seems to be the engine that drives our Universe. Often, when we look underneath what on the surface may appear to be a “flaw” or “defect”, we see that it has also the offering of gifts of growth. I suspect, coming to the realisation that all parts of us serve us in some way or another, is a doorway we need to enter if we’re to inhabit Self-acceptance. Then we are able to change, if we choose, by coming from a place of loving ourselves, rather than from hating parts of ourselves.


Along with being a Reiki practitioner, Brad Hercina is currently immersed in a three year Shamanic Practitioner Apprenticeship and facilitates a men’s support group in Campbell River.