10 traits society thinks are weaknesses but are actually strengths

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It’s a tough pill to swallow, but sometimes we’ve got it all wrong about ourselves.

We might feel ashamed, misunderstood, or even weak…but these feelings change once we realize our true worth.

That’s why it’s important to take a closer look at ourselves, and why not start with the traits that are closest to us—our perceived weaknesses.

If you recognize these traits in yourself, you probably have strengths you’ve not yet recognized.

1. Sensitivity

The first trait on our list, and one I’ve struggled with personally, is sensitivity.

You know how it goes: “You’re too sensitive!” It’s an accusation flung around as a negative, as if feeling things deeply is some sort of crime. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that phrase in my life.

Growing up, I was always the “sensitive” kid. I’d tear up at movies, feel crushed when a friend cancelled plans, and I was constantly moved by the beauty or sadness around me. For years, I tried to hide my sensitivity, to become more “tough” because I thought it was a weakness.

But guess what? It’s not. Being sensitive means being empathetic. It means understanding people’s feelings, being considerate, and genuinely caring about others. And in a world where indifference seems to be the norm, these traits are not just strengths, they’re superpowers.

So if you’re like me, and you’ve been labelled “too sensitive,” remember: your ability to feel deeply isn’t a weakness—it’s a strength. Your sensitivity allows you to connect with others on a level that many people can’t. And that is something truly special.

2. Procrastination

The next trait that society often misjudges is procrastination. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How on earth can dragging your feet be seen as a strength?” Stick with me here, because this is a lesson I learned the hard way.

You see, I’ve always been a bit of a last-minute person. Whether it’s holiday shopping, writing reports, or even cleaning the house – I tend to leave things until the wire. For years, I beat myself up about this. I thought it showed that I was lazy or disorganized.

But then I realized something: when I procrastinate, it’s not because I’m lazy. It’s because I work best under pressure. That last-minute rush gives me a surge of energy and creativity that I just don’t get when I start things early.

What’s more, procrastination often gives me time to think things through. When I jump into tasks too quickly, without giving them much thought, the result is often mediocre. But when I let an idea simmer in the back of my mind for a while, the end result is often much better.

If you’re a fellow procrastinator, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, learn to use it to your advantage. It’s not always about being slow or lazy – sometimes it’s about knowing when you work best and using that knowledge to create something amazing.

3. Daydreaming

Let’s talk about something that might surprise you: being a “daydreamer.” Now, this is something I know a thing or two about.

As a kid, I’d often get lost in my own thoughts, imagining different worlds, creating complex stories, or just wondering about the ‘what ifs’ in life. Teachers would scold me for not paying attention, and friends would tease me for being “spacey.” It seemed like my constant daydreaming was nothing but a distraction.

But as I grew up, I began to see this so-called “weakness” in a whole new light. Being a daydreamer meant that I had a rich imagination. It meant that I could think outside the box, come up with creative solutions to problems, and envision possibilities that others couldn’t see. I realized that my ability to lose myself in thought was actually a strength in disguise.

In fact, some of the world’s greatest inventors and artists were known to be daydreamers. They used their imagination as a tool to create amazing things and bring new ideas into the world.

If you’re a daydreamer like me, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it. Embrace it. Your ability to see beyond the here and now isn’t a weakness—it’s a strength. And who knows? Your daydreams might just lead you to come up with the next big idea.

4. Being stubborn

Moving along, let’s talk about a trait that might raise some eyebrows: being stubborn. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “How can being stubborn be a good thing?” Well, let’s consider some facts.

Have you ever noticed that many of the world’s most successful people are, well, pretty darn stubborn? Take Steve Jobs, for example. He was known for being incredibly stubborn and unwavering in his vision – and look where it got him.

Stubbornness often gets a bad rap because it can make us seem difficult or unwilling to compromise. But when you think about it, being stubborn also means being determined and steadfast in your beliefs. It means having the tenacity to stick with something, even when others doubt you or when things get tough.

If you’ve been called stubborn a time or two in your life, don’t sweat it. It doesn’t mean you’re difficult or uncompromising. It might just mean that you have the determination and resilience to keep going until you reach your goals. And that, my friends, is a strength worth celebrating.

5. Failure

Failure is perhaps one of the most feared words in our vocabulary. It’s that dreaded outcome we spend our lives trying to avoid. I’m no stranger to it, and chances are, you aren’t either.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve failed. I’ve bombed tests, been rejected, made mistakes, and fallen flat on my face (both literally and metaphorically). Each time, it felt like the end of the world. But here’s what I’ve learned: it wasn’t. In fact, it was just the beginning.

You see, failure isn’t just an end result – it’s a stepping stone. It’s a teacher that shows us where we went wrong and how to do better next time. It builds resilience, instills humility, and fosters growth like nothing else can.

Don’t fear failure. Embrace it. Understand that every misstep is an opportunity to learn and grow stronger. It’s not a sign of weakness but a testament of courage – the courage to try, to risk, and to continue in the face of adversity. That’s not just strength; that’s extraordinary strength.

6. Being quiet

I’ve always been one of those people who prefers to listen rather than speak. I’d rather observe a conversation than lead one, and I’m more comfortable in the background than in the limelight. For a long time, I thought this was a weakness. I thought it meant I was shy or that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say.

But over time, I’ve realized that’s not the case at all. Being quiet doesn’t mean you’re weak or unimportant. In fact, it can be a very powerful trait.

When you’re quiet, you become a great listener. You hear things that others might miss. You’re able to absorb and process information in a deeper way. And when you do speak, people tend to listen because they know you’ve thought carefully about what you’re going to say.

I’ve learned that being quiet isn’t something to be ashamed of – it’s something to embrace. So if you’re like me and you often find yourself on the quieter side of things, don’t see it as a weakness. See it as a strength. Because in a world full of noise, sometimes the quietest voices are the most powerful ones.

7. Indecisiveness

Now, I won’t lie to you – this is a trait that has tripped me up more times than I can count.

Whether it’s choosing a restaurant, picking a movie, or even deciding what to wear – I’m often the person who just can’t make up their mind. For a long time, I saw this as a major flaw. I thought it meant I was wishy-washy or that I lacked confidence.

But I’ve come to see it in a different light. Being indecisive isn’t about being weak or unsure, it’s about wanting to make the right decision. It’s about weighing all the options, considering all the outcomes, and trying to make the best choice possible.

And while this might mean taking a bit longer to decide what to do on a Friday night, it also means making thoughtful decisions that I can feel good about.

If you’re like me and you often find yourself struggling to make decisions, don’t be too hard on yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or unsure. It just means you’re cautious and considerate – and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, in a world where impulsivity can lead to regret, being indecisive might just be your secret superpower.

8. Perfectionism

Let’s talk about another trait that’s often misunderstood: being a perfectionist. Now, this is something that you might not expect.

Perfectionism is often seen as a negative trait. It’s associated with being overly critical, hard to please, and never satisfied. But did you know that many successful people are self-confessed perfectionists?

Take James Cameron, the director of blockbuster films like “Titanic” and “Avatar.” He’s known for his meticulous attention to detail and won’t settle for anything less than perfect.

Being a perfectionist isn’t about being overly critical or impossible to please – it’s about striving for excellence. It’s about not settling for “good enough” and always pushing to be the best you can be.

If you’re a perfectionist, don’t let anyone tell you that it’s a weakness. It could be the driving force that pushes you to achieve incredible things. And that’s not a weakness – it’s a strength.

9. Being introverted

For years, I thought there was something wrong with me. Parties, networking events, large social gatherings – they all felt so draining. I’d much rather spend a quiet evening at home with a good book or a few close friends. I thought this made me antisocial or weird.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to understand and appreciate my introverted nature. Being introverted doesn’t mean you’re antisocial or shy – it means you recharge by spending time alone.

I’ve learned that this trait allows me to form deep connections with people, to think before I speak, to observe and understand the world around me in a unique way. It also gives me the ability to work well independently and to be comfortable with my own thoughts and ideas.

If you’re an introvert like me, don’t see it as a weakness. Embrace it as a strength. The world needs more people who know how to listen, who think before they speak, and who value deep connections over superficial ones. And that’s something we introverts are pretty good at.

10. Being anxious

Anxiety is something I’ve grappled with for a good chunk of my life. For a long time, I considered it a weakness. I mean, who wants to admit that they’re constantly worrying, overthinking, or fearing the worst?

But over time, I’ve come to understand that anxiety isn’t just a source of worry—it’s also a source of strength. It makes me more empathetic, attuned to others’ feelings, and aware of potential risks. It pushes me to prepare thoroughly and strive to do my best. So while my anxiety may be a challenge, it can also be a powerful motivator.

Why we need to embrace our so-called weaknesses

We’ve talked a lot about traits that society often mislabels as weaknesses, and I’ve shared how many of these so-called “flaws” are actually strengths in disguise. From being sensitive to being a daydreamer, being stubborn to being introverted – these traits are not weaknesses, they’re unique parts of who we are.

So here’s my advice to you: Own your traits. Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior because you’re different. Embrace your uniqueness and celebrate it.

And the next time someone tells you that your sensitivity is a weakness, remember: it’s a strength. The next time someone calls you stubborn, remember: it shows your determination. The next time someone teases you for daydreaming, remember: it’s a sign of your creativity.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

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With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

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Justin Brown

As co-founder of Ideapod, a digital publishing platform reaching millions, and creator of The Vessel, a new platform for self-knowledge, I bring a unique perspective to the world of culture, politics and psychology. With a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and M.A. (First Class Honours) from the Australian National University, I've dedicated my career to understanding and sharing new ideas and perspectives for a new generation.

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