“Your relationship with the world is a mirror reflection of the relationship with yourself.” — Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
I’ve coached high performers at Microsoft for over two decades and what I’ve learned is this:
There’s nothing worse than being your own worst enemy.
But when you become your own ally, you can transform your inner critic into an inspiring coach.
And you can’t master yourself without embracing yourself, flaws and all.
When you embrace your imperfections and practice self-compassion, they become your greatest keys to your personal growth and greatness.
In Becoming Flawesome, Kristina Mänd-Lakhani, walks us through the power of embracing your imperfections as a catalyst for extraordinary potential.
Reconnect with your true self, practice self-love, and embrace your imperfections to become what you’re capable of.
A Summary of the Summary
- The world will treat you the way you train it to treat you.
- Your relationship with the world is a mirror reflection of the relationship with yourself.
- The pivotal moment of readiness for transformation is marked by kindness.
- Kindness gives you courage to be honest with yourself and wisdom to accept yourself the way you are.
- Self-care can never compensate for the power and significance of self-love, which always takes precedence.
- Self-love is a constant attitude that permeates every moment of your life.
Why Read Becoming Flawesome?
If you’ve ever struggled with self-acceptance, perfectionism, negative self-talk, or imposter syndrome, Becoming Flawesome offers you a fresh start and a full transformation.
Becoming Flawesome is a journey of radical self-acceptance.
It empowers you to embrace your flaws, quirks, and scars, and find your authentic self.
Becoming Flawesome inspires you to unapologetically live life as your beautifully flawed and ‘flawesomely’ unique self.
The Big Idea of Flawesome
By embracing our flaws, we can lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life, embracing both our imperfections and our potential for growth.
However, embracing flaws isn’t always an easy path.
It requires us to confront our inner demons—negative self-perceptions, fears, and insecurities—that often hold us back.
By acknowledging these inner struggles and confronting them head-on, we can free ourselves from their grip and move forward with courage and resilience.
Fighting our inner demons involves challenging self-doubt, negative thought patterns, and self-sabotaging behaviors. It requires self-reflection, seeking support from others, and developing coping mechanisms to navigate through difficult emotions and experiences.
These are a few of my favorite quotes from Becoming Flawesome:
- “You see, your flaws and your dragons are there for a reason–they make you who you are, but they also hold the key to your biggest value, to your mightiest strengths, if you choose to look your dragons in the eye.” — Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
- “Authenticity is binary. You are either 100 percent authentic or you are not. And so is honesty–you are either 100 percent honest or your are not., You cannot be mostly honest. Or mostly authentic.” — Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
- “And so, by the age of 40, I was done with the “second-degree authenticity.” I longed bo be myself, fully, unapologetically, 100 percent.” — Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
- “I am a very engaged parent–I spend time with my kids; I ask questions; I know their friends, their vents, and deadlines; I know what interests them, what they like, and what they don’t like.” — Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
- “You cannot shame and guilt yourself out of what you feel.” — Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
- “People have a funny tendency to brush over the unpleasant and the uncomfortable, and to rush straight into how it is supposed to be in a perfect world.” — Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
- “Every person understands happiness in their own unique way.” — Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
Your Truth is Your Truth
If you are a truth seeker, your greatest adventure awaits:
Finding YOUR truth.
Kristina acknowledges that she cannot provide the absolute truth that you seek since everyone’s truth is unique to themselves.
“You should know that I am not going to tell you the truth you are seeking.
It won’t come from me.
Your truth is your truth, and my truth is mine.
All I can do is help you open yourself, find courage to take a flashlight and go into the basement of your beautiful building a perfect facade, and shine the light into the darkest corners of the most forgotten nooks and crannies.
It’s there that you will find your dragons which have been hiding in the dark, ignored and obliviated.
I will help you find the courage to look those dragons in the eye.
I will support you in finding fortitude in your heart so you can be at peace with its abode in your beautiful and “perfect” house.
You can easily live alongside my truths or anyone else’s truths without giving them too much attention no matter how much they may contradict your own paradigms, beliefs or values.”
Unstoppable Quest: The Ultimate Journey of Authenticity and Truth
Authenticity cannot be easily switched on and off. Once you start your journey of self-discovery you can’t stop.
“But you will not be able to close your eyes and ignore your own red pill once you find it in your palm. And even if you choose not to swallow it, your life will not go back to what it was before.
Once you set your foot on the path, you are on your own Hero’s Journey.
You have to walk the path, through mountains and forests, into the darkest cave.
You have to find that dragon and face it.
And if you live, you’ll come out the other side as a brand-new being.
Once you start walking, there’s no going back.
You see, authenticity is not a switch–you cannot flick it on and off at will.
It is like a skydive.
Once you step out of the plane door and pull the cord, your parachute opens and there is no way back–you cannot pack it back up int your bag mid-air and retrace your fall back up to the plane.”
Why Self-Love is Hard
Self-love is hard because that version of you doesn’t exist yet. We strive to be our ideal selves.
We want to do better.
But there’s gaps, and we’re flawed.
And that’s perfectly human.
Kristina asks if we’ve ever fallen in love with the idea of someone, rather than the actual person. Our brains create a picture of perfection and fill in the gaps with imagination.
We end up in love with a figment of our imagination.
Perfectionism is a Terrible Burden
Recognizing and accepting our present version is a vital step towards becoming the best version of ourselves.
“Perfectionism is a terrible burden. We adopt it out of the best intentions because we want to be good; we want to be seen as someone who doesn’t make mistakes, who has life figured out, who is flawless.
But it is the one thing that often stands between us and real, lasting, deep happiness and the feeling of pace and fulfillment.”
Kristina shares that the solution is to embrace who you are while becoming who you can be:
“You might say, ‘Isn’t it good to strive to be a better version of me?’
My poor Hermione, you are right–of course it is good.
But you cannot become a better version of you, or any version of you for that matter, until you come to peace and accept the current version of you.’
Success Is a Byproduct of Happiness
Success is not a guaranteed path to happiness.
Many people mistakenly believe that they will find happiness once they achieve success.
However, Kristina argues that it is happiness that can lead to success, not the other way around.
“We often think that the path to happiness lies in success. It is a cultural axiom we don’t often challenge.
And this axiom, this delusion is why so many of us suffer from Hermione Syndrome, from perfectionism, the why we are so harsh toward ourselves, so self-critical, and find it hard to accept ourselves the way we are.
Because ultimately, we want to be happy, but we believe that the path to happiness lies through success, and success, naturally, requires perfection.”
Your Self-Perception is Not Defined by the Outside World
When faced with criticism, your reaction depends on how much you believe the criticism to be true.
Criticism only affects you if it resonates with your self-perception.
Contrary to common belief, your self-perception is not defined by external factors.
Instead, how you react to the outside world is shaped by your own self-perception.
“When you hear criticism about yourself or your actions, your reaction to the critical feedback depends on how much you believe it to be true.
You are more likely to be hurt by the criticism that you agree with on some level.
If you are emotional and someone throws an ‘Oh, don’t be so dramatic!’ at you, you will likely feel hurt.
But if someone criticizes you for something you don’t identify with at all, you are most likely going to feel nothing about such criticism.
In simple words, you would be upset if I said that green hair doesn’t look good on you, unless your hair really was green.”
Authenticity Must Come Before Vulnerability
Authenticity is your relationship with yourself.
Vulnerability is your relationship with the outside world.
Your authenticity must come first, otherwise, your vulnerability is inauthentic.
“Vulnerability is important. And I celebrate the fact that vulnerability has been normalized, and in fact, its value is now universally accepted.
But authenticity is more important, quite simply, because it must come first.
First, your relationship with yourself–authenticity.
And once this most important relationship is sorted, then comes your relationship with the outside world–aka vulnerability.”
Being Authentic Allows You to Choose When to Be Vulnerable
You can be vulnerable without being authentic. You can simply expose your inner mess to the world.
But when you know your true self, your authentic self, you can choose when and what to share with the world.
“Hence, equating vulnerability with authenticity misses the mark.
You can be completely delusional, live in your made-up world, resort to immature coping strategies rather than deal with painful emotions.
So you can be vulnerability but stay inauthentic.
I’ll put it bluntly: you can vulnerably expose your messed-up inner psyche to the big, wide world and be no more honest with yourself.
On the other hand, you can be completely authentic, know yourself profoundly, face your dragons, stay true to yourself and still choose not to be vulnerable in certain circumstances.”
Your World Reflects How You Feel About Yourself
Your experiences and interactions in the world are often a reflection of your own thoughts and feelings.
Your perceptions and attitudes towards others are more indicative of how you feel about yourself.
And the world will treat you the way you train it to treat you.
“Our feelings and thoughts toward other people have more to do with us than with the people we are having feelings about.
Our thoughts about other people are reflections of how we feel about ourselves.
You see, the world will treat you the way you will train it to treat you.
It is hard to swallow, it may be unpleasant to admit, but, in most cases, that is exactly what happens.
If we don’t expect respect, we will very likely be insulted.
If we don’t expect justice, we will very likely be taken advantage of.
If we don’t expect love and acceptance, we are very likely going to be rejected.”
You Wear Your Opinion About Yourself
Your self-perceptions and opinions about yourself act as your inner wardrobe.
Just as clothes affect your mindset and behavior, your opinions about yourself influence your personality.
They shape how you show up in different aspects of your life.
“Just as when we wear costumes and different-style clothes to different occasions, and those costumes and clothes shape our personality in those circumstance.
When you go to a serious business meeting, you wear something profession, and you feel a little more professional and ready for the meeting.
When you go for a romantic date, you wear something hot, and it makes you feel more attractive.
When you put on your sports outfit and go to the gym, you feel a little more fit and energized the moment you put on those clothes.
We wear our opinions about yourselves, and they shape our personality the same way clothes do.”
The Only Rejection to Fear is Your Own
The only rejection we truly need to fear is the rejection that comes from within ourselves.
You have the power to reject or accept yourself.
And you are often your own harshest critic.
“So who has the power to reject or accept you?
You’ve guessed it: you.
You are your first critic.
And then you put on your own decisions like a dress and go out into the world with it, getting exactly what you expect.”
When You Genuinely Accept Yourself, the World Will, Too
When you genuinely accept and embrace yourself, the world has no option but to accept you as well.
Even if the world does not accept you, it becomes inconsequential.
Your self-acceptance grants you the resilience and strength to not be affected by external judgment.
“And so here’s the most important point: the only person whose rejection you have to fear is your own.
As long as you can accept yourself, the world has no choice but to accept you as well.
And if it doesn’t, you won’t give a damn anyway.”
Why Rejecting Yourself is So Easy
Rejecting yourself can feel effortless due to the harsh and unkind nature of your self-talk.
Often, you speak to yourself in a way you would never, ever speak to another person.
Your mind internalizes these unkind thoughts and judgments and distorts your perception of yourself.
“Your self-talk is often so harsh and unkind that you would never talk like that to another person.
And then your brain picks up those unkind thoughts and words, your judgment and criticism, and gets to work.
Your goal defines your perception, and you start setting proof of your unkindness toward yourself, and then, your hard and critical judgement of yourself becomes a ‘reality’ in your head.
No wonder rejecting yourself becomes so easy!
I’m not talking about absolute rejection or giving up on yourself.
I’m talking about the little stabs you give yourself for not being better, for not being perfect, for not being good enough.
Oh well–you know how many reasons there are to be hard on yourself!”
Your Reality is Just an Illusion (Or Delusion)
Your perception of reality is often just an illusion or delusion.
Your reality is constructed by your own perceptions and beliefs.
“Yet your ‘reality’ is just an illusion, a delusion, because it is created by you in the first place.
And the nature of self-deception is that you are usually not aware of being deceived.
If you were aware of delusion, it would become a point of view, a paradigm, a set of rules you consciously created for yourself.
But without the awareness, whatever goes through your head is feeding the delusion.”
The Delusion of Your Reality
Even those who consider themselves clever, experienced, or sharp-minded can still fall victim to powerful illusions.
Your mind has a natural inclination to confirm your existing beliefs and perceptions, regardless of their accuracy.
“And, if you think you are too clever, too experienced, too sharp to be deceived, here’s another interesting concept:
a powerful mind can create a bulletproof illusion.
We like to be right, and our brain is hard at work to prove us right, no matter the essence of what we want to be right about.
Your brain’s task., by default, is to make you think that you are right.
So, naturally, the more powerful the brain, the stronger the delusion.”
What Your Quality of Life Consists Of
The quality of your life comes down to your decisions and habits, both conscious and unconscious.
You make anywhere between 70 and 35,000 decisions each day.
While significant choices and unexpected events may temporarily affect you, your overall quality of life is shaped by the smaller, daily decisions you make.
“I believe that in spite of any big defining decisions, our quality of life consists of daily, mundane, small choices, thoughts, and feelings.
Yes, big decisions or unexpected life-changing events can throw you off balance for a while, but you will come back to your default state sooner or later, and your life will continue to be formed by your small, daily choices.”
Your Daily Decisions Shape Your Life
Your conscious and unconscious decisions shape your life.
Kristina provides examples:
- Food choices: What we eat for breakfast or how we respond to hunger influences our well-being. Snacking, having a meal, or indulging in chocolate are all decisions with potential consequences.
- Physical activity: Choosing to take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, deciding on transportation methods like driving, walking, or taking a bus affect our level of physical activity and health.
- Interactions with others: How we handle conflicts, confrontations, or judgments from others plays a significant role in shaping our relationships. Our reactions and responses determine the quality of our interactions.
- Leisure time and family interactions: How we unwind after work, engage with our families, and spend our weekends contribute to our overall well-being and happiness.
- Dealing with setbacks: How we handle mistakes, rejection, and failure greatly impacts our resilience and ability to bounce back. Our self-talk, the conclusions we draw, and how quickly we recover from setbacks shape our personal growth.
True Emotional Intelligence is Learning to Be at Peace with Yourself
Your emotional intelligence starts with your relationships with yourself.
You begin your journey towards self-discovery by prioritizing your emotional well-being.
You need to find your inner harmony by embracing and accepting your complete range of your human emotions and your personal experiences.
“I believe that the path back to you starts with emotional well-being.
Emotional well-being is coming to peace with the full spectrum of our expressions, with our experiences and every emotion.
It is then that we are ready to return to who we truly are.
Emotional Intelligence is the central piece in this puzzle.
And while all my previous examples were about your relationships with the world and other people, true emotional intelligence is learning to be at peace with yourself.”
You Can’t Help Anyone if You’re Not Happy
Sacrificing your own happiness for the sake of others is self-deception.
While you may believe you are making noble sacrifices, your loved ones can see through this facade.
Those you love don’t need your sacrifices. They need you to be genuinely happy.
“Once I had a chance to attend a small gathering with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and I couldn’t help asking him what to do–how could I think about happiness and fulfillment when there was so much suffering in the world?
Dalai Lama’s answer to me was simple, but it stuck forever:
‘Kristina, you cannot help anyone if you are not happy.’
You cannot help anyone if you are not happy.
You may fool yourself into believing that you are sacrificing your happiness for the sake of people you love, but it is a lie.
You can fool yourself, but you will not fool your loved ones–your children, your loving intuitive mother, or your partner who might be able to decipher your mood from the way you breathe.
The people that you love do not need your sacrifice–they need you to be happy.
So not only is your sacrifice of personal happiness pointless, but it is also a heavy burden on those who you so selflessly want to make the offering.”
Self-Deception is Not Lying to Yourself
Don’t equate self-deception with intentionally lying to yourself.
Your cognitive biases and mental shortcuts distort your perception.
The human brain has a tendency to fill gaps, chaos, and uncertainty with imagination.
It’s your brain’s way of tricking you into perceiving the world in a manner that’s more advantageous to you.
“In short, your brain doesn’t like gaps, chaos, or uncertainty, so it fills the gaps with imagination and presents it as reality.
There are many curious phenomenon that prove that your brain is hard at work tricking you, such as various cognitive biases, which distort your perception of real events.
Or the tendency to use mental shortcuts while making decisions and then seeking out proof of being right the moment the decision has been made.
And I could go on and on with a list of the tricks that your brain uses on you: optical illusions, inattentional blindness, phantom pains, placebo, just to mention a few familiar ones.
And, of course, any kind of illusions and biases, even if you are blissfully unaware of being tricked can distort your perception of reality.
So it would be right to say that self-deception is not you lying to yourself, but your brain tricking you into viewing the world in a way that is most beneficial to you.”
Honesty and Kindness Go Hand in Hand
Honesty and kindness are interconnected and should go hand in hand.
She argues that honesty, while important, must always be accompanied by kindness.
Honesty without kindness can be cruel, mean-spirited, and ultimately unhelpful.
On the other hand, kindness alone, without honesty, is also flawed. It can easily devolve into flattery, which opens the door to manipulation.
“Honesty, no matter how necessary, has to be laden with kindness.
For honesty without kindness is mean, cruel, and unhelpful.
And honesty which is masquerading to look like care and compassion is the worst kind, because it is actually gaslighting, a farce, and not really honest.
It’s like ‘tough love,’ which is neither love nor honesty.
Yet kindness without honesty is also flawed, as it quickly becomes flattery.
And flattery is a gateway to manipulation.
There is a big difference between a sincere compliment from the heart and pleasantries and niceties, which are liberally shared just to make you feel good.
While you might appreciate the effort of someone pleasing you, there is something unsettling about insincerity.
If you have ever been lavishly praised for something trivial you know how uncomfortable it feels.”
Transformation Starts with Kindness Towards Yourself
Your transformation starts with self-kindness.
Self-kindness fosters self-acceptance, courage, wisdom, and the belief in your potential to become better.
“Change is not a natural consequence of pain; it is often a sign of healing. Only when you are ready to heal will you find in you what it takes to start growing again.
And that moment is marked with kindness.
Transformation starts with kindness toward yourself.
Kindness gives you courage to be honest with yourself and wisdom to accept yourself the way you are.
It will also give you the certainty that you have what it takes to go out and be brave and become better.”
Don’t Miss the Depth and Essence of Self-Love
While self-care can be beneficial, you need to prioritize and embrace the depth and essence of self-love.
Self-care is surface-level actions.
Self-love involves a continuous attitude of self-acceptance, compassion, and appreciation.
Neglecting self-love can have immediate and profound consequences.
“Self-care is usually skin-deep (massage, facial, manicure), while self-love penetrates much deeper.
Self-care relies on rituals (exercise, meditation, walk), while self-love is a constant attitude, and so there is no big harm missing self-care from time to time–you can pick it up where you dropped it off.
Missing self-love on the other hand, can cause real immediate damage.
Self-care is about taking time for yourself, indulging yourself, pampering yourself, while self-love doesn’t take any time, but it permeates your life every single moment.
Self-care is often physical, whereas self-love doesn’t really have a physical component.
But most importantly if you get caught up in self-care, you might miss the depth and essence of self-love.”
Self-Love Trumps Self-Care Any Day
Self-care can never compensate for the power and significance of self-love.
Self-love is the ultimate goal.
Self-love is accepting yourself even in the face of failures or deviations from your ideal practices.
Without self-love you are subject to shame, self-blame, and negative self-talk.
“Self-care is about surviving, while self-love is about thriving.
Self-care is incredibly important–you should take care of your body; it is the temple of your soul.
But if you were to err and fall, can you still love yourself?
If you were to fail at your strict diet, or stay up all night indulging in a movie, or skip your yoga class, or wake up one day feeling cranky and moody, would you be able to still love yourself?
I would like to argue that the harm that your failing of a self-care ritual would cause your body is not as grave as your blaming, shaming, and disappointed self-talk.
That excessive glass of wine is not as bad for your body as hating yourself for it.
That lack of sleep and sluggishness is not as bad for your future as you are panicking and beating yourself up for it.
Your self-care will never compensate for your self-love, but your self-love will always trump self-care any day.”
Start Your Journey to Becoming Flawesome
Embrace your imperfections, practice self-compassion, and unlock your extraordinary potential!
Get the Book
Get Becoming Flawesome on Amazon:
Becoming Flawesome, by Kristina Mänd-Lakhani
You Might Also Like
Personal Development Hub
Be Your Future Self Now Book Summary
Personal Development for Smart People
The Undefeated Mind Book Summary
The Charge Book Summary
Great Lessons from Bruce Lee
Great Lessons from Tony Robbins