Monday, October 15, 2012

Using the Pieces to See The Whole Picture

"Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory."
 - Douglas MacArthur

We've talked a lot about figuring out who we are. We've listed our strengths and cataloged our weaknesses. So now what? What do we do with all that we've discovered about ourselves?

We are unique and that makes us valuable! 

We have our lists. Like ingredients in a recipe, our strengths and weaknesses probably aren't unique. But the way they are put together and the proportions that have been used make us unique dishes. And things that are unique are valuable. Why are rare coins worth so much money? Because they are rare! The same thing goes for other collectible items - the more rare it is, the more it's worth. People are valuable because they are unique!! If we were all the same, a bunch of us would be unnecessary.  So let's take pride in our ingredients. If they were different, we wouldn't be who we are - and no, wishing to be someone else is no good. Want to know a secret? Most women I've spoken to have wished to be someone else. The extroverts want to be introverts and vice verse. The perfect ones want the freedom to be real, and the openly flawed ones desperately want to be perfect. I know because they've been telling me! Can we all just be happy with who we are? We have been created intentionally and for a purpose! Let's take pride in that.

Our strengths and weaknesses can be used as a road map to being our best self. 

Now that we know our strengths and weaknesses, we can put ourselves on the road to being the best version of who we were designed to be.

I want to hone my strengths! I want to work towards fostering them and making the most of my gifts. For example, since one of my strengths is being comfortable with quick decisions and speaking in front of others, I decided to help head up our PTO at school. I am using my strengths in a way that helps others and helps me improve my skills.

I also want to work on my weaknesses. I want to get better at the things that are hard for me.  PTO is forcing me to work on my tunnel vision issues (I lose sight of the people involved in the tasks and just try to get it done) and on my pride. PTO is a relatively thankless role. It's hard work with no pay and little credit for a good reason. Volunteering, knowing that there probably won't be anything in it for me, is helping me be a better servant and focus less on myself - lessons I really need to learn.

Our strengths don't make us better than others, and our weaknesses don't make us less than others.

If everyone around us has strengths and weaknesses, and they do, then none of us is better than another. That "perfect mom" in the preschool drop off line has her own issues. The extroverted "happy mom" has stuff she struggles with. The shy "quiet mom" is working on herself and her list too.

So next time we see something in ourselves we don't like, instead of beating ourselves up and wishing we were someone else, let's remember that everyone out there has issues. We are all alike in that.You aren't any less than any other woman out there! Don't forget it!

On the flip side, next time I see something in myself that I like, I need to remember that I'm not the only one in the world with something to offer. I'm not any better than the other women out there just because I have a strength. They do too! I need to turn my focus off myself and onto the gifts of those around me.


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