It’s amazing – and sad – the number of people I come across who are much more aware of their weaknesses than they are of their strengths. And what’s more, when encouraged to look at their strengths as well as their weaknesses, I get a variation of “what strengths?”
It is sad to hear it when somebody feels so overwhelmed by all they are supposedly doing wrong, or all things they ought to be doing and are allegedly not doing or not doing enough of. And yet, when what they are doing very well is flagged up, these are dismissed as something anyone else could easily accomplish. Even though that’s not necessarily the case. And even if it were, it still is vital, positive work and you ought to still claim credit for it.
It is sad to hear when somebody is weighed down by (false) guilt for actions that were outside their control, but would refuse to take pride and joy in the very positive things they are doing, achieving, sometimes in very dire circumstances.
Sometimes, it sounds as though it’s a badge of honour, to be hard on oneself, because the idea is that if we are hard on ourselves, then there’d be no room for anyone else to be hard on us. And that is very sad indeed.
What is even sadder, what is heart breaking, is when a person feels that they, as a person, are wrong – for whatever reason – that they are defective, and need to be fixed. This of course would usually be as a result of an accummulation of stuff they may have heard and experienced over the years, stuff they have internalised and taken as truth, and the same stuff they continue to regurgitate to themselves, keeping themselves locked in that self-defeating spiralling loop…
The good news is that, no one, as a person, is wrong, defective or needs to be fixed. Yes, we all have room to grow AND we are inherently ok as we are. We are just fine, thank you. That is the starting point. When we accept that we are ok as we are with our imperfections and all, then we can choose to grow. And growing in awareness of how our thoughts, feelings and actions are interconnected and impact on one another means that we can enhance our growth and personal development.
It all begins with a choice. To accept self. As is.
So, the next time you get an opportunity to explore your strengths, ignore the cynical voice in your head that quips, “what strengths?” Instead, close your eyes, take a deep breath and consider some of the following:
– What are you doing when you are your best?
– What do you find easy to do?
– What are you naturally good at?
– What energises you?
– What skill(s) do you pick up easily
– What sort of thing do you/would you do just for the love of it?
– What are you naturally interested in or attracted by?
– What really motivates you?
– What activities do you get completely absorbed in and lose track of time?
– What are you really passionate about?
– What were you good at as a child?
– How does this show up in your life now?
– What other strengths can you think of without thinking too much about it?
Actually, why don’t you do it right now? And give yourself a pat on the back for each strength you discover/acknowledge. (Do share your experience if you like).
And finally, there are some words you should permanently delete from your repertoire. But that will be another piece for another day!