#1 Secret To Success And Happiness

Accept Yourself, Flaws and All

Artist illustration of her feeling vulnerable

“I wish I were invisible.”

Did you ever wish you could be invisible? It’s scary being visible! People can see your flaws. I know because I’m visible – and flawed. One of the hardest lessons to learn is to accept yourself, flaws and all.

“Everybody is looking at you”

My daddy was the most visible person I ever knew. He had a huge personality that grabbed people. But the problem was he couldn’t stop it. He never faded into a crowd. It embarrassed me and he passed that personality on to me. It’s intimidated me all my life—the feeling that I could never blend in, that people were always watching me, judging me.

I can remember the first time I froze, too afraid to come into a room where a group of kids were gathered. “Everybody is looking at you,” my brain screamed. “They all see what’s wrong with you. You don’t belong.” I was just five years old and we moved to a new town where I didn’t know any other children. It was Saturday. Mama and Daddy were working and I was outside playing by myself. Then I met a little girl who lived a block away. We played together all afternoon. I was so happy when she said she was having a birthday party the next Saturday and I was invited. Mama had to work on Saturday, but that was okay, I could walk there by myself.

Saturday afternoon I got dressed and went to her house. I climbed the steps to her porch. The party had started. I could hear children laughing inside. But I didn’t knock on the door. I just stood there, frozen on the porch, scared and sad, wanting her mother to find me, yet afraid she would at the same time. Then I went home.

The feeling persisted throughout my childhood. People were fine one at a time – but I knew groups judged you for being poor, for being dumb, for being from the wrong town—for everything. Because I wanted to avoid groups, I was alone a lot, so I had plenty of time to get bored – and time to get creative in finding ways to entertain myself.

The fear that closed so many doors opened a new one for me.

Boredom and loneliness brought me to the front porches of the many lonely, old people who lived in the mill houses on Petain Street. They welcomed a child who would listen without passing judgment. They told me stories of their lives, of different times, of sad events, and happy ones. I didn’t know then that I was beginning an avocation that would someday become the most important part of my career. While I thought that I just loved to listen to people and gather up their stories, I really was learning that I could talk to people, people one at a time. The fear that made me uncomfortable and self-conscious led me to begin my career as a “gatherer.”

Image of two speech bubbles.

“Life in not a fairytale!”

Your flaws are part of what makes you YOU.

I’m no more comfortable walking into a room than my five-year-old self was, but I’ve realized that from my fear, came my talent. From my flaws, grew my strength. I’m able to talk to people and get them to talk to me and trust me with their stories. I built my career in staffing, a business in which the only way to relate to people is one-on-one. I even managed to make my way through professional organizations by meeting people one at a time outside of the group settings. A friend from the Greater Washington Board of Trade said, “Ruthi comes to the events, says hello to the five people she knows, and leaves.”

My big, scary personality is still there – just as it was always with Daddy. In time, I came to see that Daddy, with all his flaws, was something special too. He was magnetic. He walked into a room and lit it up. People took notice.

People take notice of me too. So my big fat personality, as well as my fears and insecurities, are as important to who I am as my empathy, integrity, and humor. They were all necessary for me to be where I am now: the founder and CEO of Ruthi Postow Staffing, author, and motivational speaker with important messages to share.

Success and happiness in life are not about hiding your flaws but about accepting and appreciating your whole self.

  • Have you ever wished you could be invisible?
  • What do you feel are your “flaws”? What positive difference have they made in your life? How can you use your flaws as strengths?
  • Like Daddy building a piano bench, what is yours to take to get to a place in your life where your “flaws” are being used as strengths?
March 15, 2017