Strength and comfort from being honest about flaws
Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks. ~ Goethe
It’s amazing how you can carry something around with you. Tic-tac teeth for instance.
A number of years ago somebody referred to me as tic-tac teeth on National television and since that point I’ve carried the comment everywhere I’ve gone.
People often come up to me and give their opinions about my teeth, dentists have offered to fix them entirely – in fact the only thing that hasn’t come my way as a result of that comment is, Tic Tac the fresh mint company themselves. (Hint hint.)
The interesting thing is that up until the comment was made, no one had ever really noticed my teeth before. And to be honest they never really bothered me.
It goes without saying that no one really likes their flaws to be known but then why do we speak of them?
I’ve always been quite an honest person and some say I’ve a terrible habit of explaining myself.
If I’ve had a hectic week and need to sing, I’ll often tell the audience that my voice is tired.
If I’m playing the guitar and hit a bung note, I’ll own up to it afterwards. If I’m cooking a certain dish for the first time I’ll normally warn guests up front – a food poisoning disclaimer! So what’s that all about?
I’ve heard a saying that once you accept the fact that you’re not perfect, then you develop some confidence.
Obviously no one is perfect but I think there’s some truth in that saying, there is a degree of assurance that comes with accepting your weaknesses and people being made aware of them. For instance, if an audience knows I’m a little under the weather, I’ll feel no fear in going for a difficult note since I’ve warned them ahead of time.
The funny thing is that I won’t have a problem reaching that note because accepting the flaw has removed any worries or fears associated with it and gained confidence, but is that such a good thing?
A lady came up to me recently after a show and told me that she would never have known I was tired if I hadn’t said so.
She said she spent the rest of the night worrying about me whenever I went for the high notes. On another occasion when I made a flippant comment on stage about eating too many pies during the holidays, a review of my show made commented about how I’d started to put on some weight. I hadn’t.
But sometimes it’s hard to keep these things to yourself and we’re all guilty of being overly honest.
When we look into a mirror, the person that we see is a different person to the one our friends, family or loved ones see. There are things we know about ourselves that no one else does. There are things we love and then things that we don’t like at all.
You hate your dimples, you get freckles in the sun, your hair is turning grey or disappearing altogether. You’ve recently put on weight or you’ve lost far too much, you’ve got wrinkles, – lots of us share this information and often with people we don’t even know. Why?
Are we worried they’ll discover these things for themselves and if so, does that really matter? Is it a good conversation starter?
“Oh I’m so tired, my baby has been awake half the night!”
“Oh tell me about it, my little one hasn’t slept a full night since he was born!“
We compare our flaws, our stories, our tales of woe – we even try to “out do” each other and it actually feels good. There is comfort in sharing these things and hearing that other people can relate. But the question still hangs, is it best to keep these things to ourselves?
There is nothing we can do if people decide to publicly comment about us – all we can hope is that their comment is positive.
As for everything that’s under our control, well honesty is still the best policy I suppose but from where I stand right now, I think a little mystery can go a long way. There is confidence that comes with accepting your flaws but there is great strength that comes with looking beyond them.
In 2010, I’m going to look beyond them.
Viva la Tic Tac Toe!
Follow Damien Leith on Twitter: @damienleith
Damien Leith is currently touring with Tina Arena and Ronan Keating in the Day On The Green shows nationally before starting his national Keys & Strings tour.
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